This woman bravely shared her story and identity on TikTok, hoping to educate and represent people like her. Remember, there’s no reason not to be proud of who you are!
Lyss turned to TikTok to share a huge part of her identity and how she discovered it. When she was 11 years old, her mom sat her down and told her that she was biologically male.
It started with her mom saying, “We should probably have the talk,” and she wondered what kind of discussion it would be. Then her mother said that it was the “period talk.”
Back then, Lyss was so curious and just wanted to know when she was going to start menstruating, develop breasts, and be able to use tampons.
So, her mother sat her down at the dining room table, holding a folder of medical information, which she thought very formal. Her mom then says, “You’re biologically male.”
That Won’t Be Happening
Lyss’s mom explained that since that is the case, she won’t ever get her period and have kids, and said that she is inters**.
She said, “When I tell you, the wallpaper on the wall started to melt off, and I was sweating and freezing, and the entire world as I knew it completely crumbled.”
Afterward, Lyss was told by her mom and doctors to keep it a secret, and she did for most of her life.
She added, “And now, I’m a grown adult talking to strangers on the internet about how I was born with balls in my belly.”
Make Me Understand!
According to the Inters** Society of North America, “inters**” is a general term used for conditions where a person is born with a reproductive organ that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male and female. This is the exact condition that Lyss had.
The Boy Within Her
When Lyss was born, she looked like a typical baby girl on the outside. Then, at some point, she had a hernia as a baby.
They had to fix it and discovered she had premature, undescended internal testes on her lower abdomen.
Identify as One of Two
At 11 months old, Lyss’s doctors decided to remove what they found. Lyss explained that doctors perform such surgeries on inters** babies to “correct” them so that they can “fit” the binary.
Lyss added, “And they like to scare parents that it can become cancerous, but I think there’s about one percent chance they would be. Some inters** people with the same variation as me get to keep their internal gonads because it helps them produce hormones, so they won’t need to be on hormone replacement therapy. But there’s definitely not enough research to know which is best.”
Because the internal testes needed to be removed, Lyss has been on hormone replacement therapy since she was 11. So, if she hadn’t been on estrogen since middle school, she probably wouldn’t have “those,” referring to her chest being shown on camera.
She added, “But I’ve always had feminine parts in my pants.”
Outing Her Truth
In Lyss’s first video, someone asked how anyone could think it was a good idea not to let her know she was inters**. Then, Lyss explained in another video that she didn’t want to say they were right for keeping the information from her, but she was undoubtedly bullied when everybody found out about it.
Lyss said, “There was always a part of me that wanted to share my truth. So, I went to school and told my friends, who, obviously, wouldn’t be my friends forever, and told everybody.”
Caging Gender In
However, Lyss thinks that the doctors and parents have good intentions as they just don’t want children to be misunderstood. But Lyss reiterated that they will always be unless there’s a safe space for people to “learn” and “be themselves.”
She added, “I also don’t think that our society wants to admit that our concept of gender is so much bigger than blue and pink.”
A Child’s Well-Being
For 10 years, after Lyss’s mom told her she was inters**, she did not trust her. She felt lied to and extremely betrayed to discover something about herself that her mother knew before her.
Lyss shared, “A lot of inters** people have this shared experience of distrust with parents and doctors because they think they can consent to unnecessary surgeries for inters** children.”
It Starts at Home
She believes the best thing parents of inters** kids can do is tell them the truth with love and acceptance, not create a sense of fear or shame. They should also never consent to any procedures that aren’t necessary for the baby’s well-being.
She added, “Before you go ‘Oh, the liberal agenda,’ allow your baby to choose its gender, okay? See how they like to express themselves and encourage that. If I were the parent of an inters** child, I would make sure that they always have love and mental health support.”
All About Advocacy
After Lyss’s first TikTok video went viral, she’s had reporters messaging her, asking to interview her, which really upset her mom. She thinks that her mother has a lot of internalized guilt and shame around this topic—that maybe she didn’t make the right choice, or perhaps she said the wrong thing or didn’t do her absolute best.
Lyss explained, “Like all parents, I truly believe that they do their best with what they know. The whole reason that inters** people speak out now is to make sure that we advocate for future children so they can make their own choices and grow up in an environment free of shame and judgment. I know that’s wishful thinking, but you’re here, aren’t you? Love you, Mom.”
What TikTokers Say
The community commended Lyss for her courage to speak up and represent a part of the society that hasn’t been recognized. Now, when people who are inters** watch her videos, they will feel that they are valid and not alone.
One person said, “You’re freaking awesome! There is almost no inters** representation. Somewhere, some child is comforted by knowing they aren’t alone. Thank you.”
Another one wrote, “Thank you for sharing your story. While inters** may account for a significant portion of society, it doesn’t seem widely recognized.”
People with the same condition joined the discussion and shared their lives as inter** individuals. There were also some comments saying they know someone who’s the same as Lyss.
A TikToker wrote, “I forget I’m inters** at least twice a month and frantically Google the correct downstairs anatomy because mine is so off.”
Another shared, “My godmother was inters**, but she was born in the 1950s. She had a difficult life. I miss her.”
What do you think of Lyss’s story? Isn’t it great that this is something people can openly talk about today?
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This post first appeared as A Woman Only Found Out That She Was Biologically Male When She Was 11 Years Old. She Won’t Get Her Period, She Won’t Have Kids, and Her World “Completely Crumbled!” on Quote Ambition.