Some conditions, such as androgen insensitivity syndrome (where a genetic male baby can't process male hormones and grows up female) or Klinefelter syndrome (where males are born with an extra X chromosome), have only a modest impact on quality of life — hell, a few people have parlayed their genetic idiosyncrasies into Olympic gold. One reads of gonads that are combinations of male and female parts, women born without a vagina, even a few folks born with both a penis and a vagina.
One especially unusual type of intersex person is known as a chimera, which results when male and female embryos meld together genetically to form one individual — and if you think you've got identity issues in your garden-variety life, try coming to terms with that.
How on earth had a plain woman, in her late 30s managed to bewitch the most eligible bachelor in the world? The 5ft 7in Prince, she blabbed, was known as ‘the little man’ for another reason — and he was sexually inadequate and prone to premature ejaculation.
However you sort it out, this is a pretty exclusive group — something like one person in 5,000 is different enough from the standard model to be considered intersex.
Intersexuality is almost always the result of a genetic disorder.
Lady Colin Campbell showed her nasty side during the second episode of I'm a Celebrity... "No one," she writes, "ever faced the knife more eagerly than I.
You would have thought I was going on a wonderful cruise - which, in a way, I suppose I was." Armed with a new birth certificate, she was now officially Georgia Arianna, and set about losing her virginity and finding a husband.
I should be tempted to classify her as an American woman par excellence were it not for the suspicion that she is not a woman at all.’A well-known German graphologist, who was given a sample of her hand-writing but not her identity, concluded that the writer was ‘a woman with a strong male inclination in the sense of activity, vitality and initiative. You can see Wallis’s condition clearly next to the very rounded face of Mary.
Today, a course of oestrogen therapy can transform facial features.
Lady Colin Campbell was born George William Ziadie in 1949 in Jamaica.
Her parents were members of Jamaica's Lebanese mercantile elite, or, as Lady Colin puts it in her ineffable way: "My mother was related to four of Jamaica's oldest families, and to say merely that she was out of the top drawer would not convey the quality of her breeding." A "cosmetic malformation" of the genitals (fused labia and a deformed clitoris) had led to his being given the wrong gender. None was forthcoming - it was not until George turned 21 (by which time he had been living as a girl, and a successful model, for some time) that he was operated upon.
which is a bit too redolent of the freak show for some tastes.
In other respects, however, you could stand some serious ignorance intervention.
She was a little disconcerted that he spent the day before their wedding driving round drugstores in search of uppers and downers, but he explained he needed them for his jet lag. Thus prepared, they trotted off to Maryland, to tie the ill-fated knot.