We Do ExistPeople say that true hermaphroditism does not exist in humans; I can tell you for definite that it does. It's true that you cannot have a fully functional and complete set of both genitals together, but I was born with one ovary and one testicle, and that makes me a hermaphrodite.
When I was born, the doctor & midwife couldn't decide if I was a boy or a girl. My genitals were sort of partway inbetween, neither one nor the other. My mother was advised to put me through surgery to make it all look female, and raise me as a girl.
But my mother was smart and forward-thinking (she was a hippie, and a bit of an anarchist,which probably helped). She asked the doctor this. "If you make her a girl, then later he grows up and decides that he's a boy, is the surgery reversible?" The doctor said no. So she told them to leave me alone until I was sure what gender I was.
So my birth certificate said "Gender Unknown", I was given a unisex name and for the first two years of my life I was raised more or less without gender at all. I had numerous tests, most of which were still inconclusive. I had one internal testicle and one ovary, I had hypospadias, which means that my penis was very small and the urethra was at the ba
By the time I was old enough to run about and play, it was fairly apparent that I was a typical boy, so at the age of about 4 I had surgery on my genitals to make it look more like a boy's, to re-position my scrotum and extend the urethra to the correct position. The rogue ovary was removed.
Puberty was an anxious time because there was no guarantee that my single testicle would produce enough testosterone. I was a late developer but my voice did start to drop at roundabout the age of 16. However there wasn't enough testosterone so I had to take tablets for that. (many years later it was discovered that oral testosterone is dangerous as it can damage the liver - fortunately I escaped that particular problem).
When I finished puberty at about 21 I had further genital surgery, because everything had grown, and I had my first set of testicular implants - over the years those have been replaced a few times as better and safer materials have been found. I still need extra testosterone, which I now have as an injection four times a year.
Throughout my adult life I have been fighting a legal and bureaucratic battle to get the gender on my birth certificate changed to male. This was finally made possible by a change in the law in 2005, and it was corrected that same year, just before by 40th birthday.
Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I had been raised as a girl, as the doctor at my birth had suggested. Would I have been happy? Or would I have realised that I was a boy inside, and wanted to change back? I am incredibly lucky that my mum was as strong-willed as she is; it's entirely because of her determination and her refusal to back down, that I am the man I am today.