poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Choosing the right gender

When Tony Briffa was born at Altona Hospital in 1970, doctors were unable to determine his gender. The younger of a set of twins, Briffa's sister Catherine was confidently announced to be a girl, but for Tony, there was much doubt.

Sent to the Royal Children's Hospital for further investigation, it was discovered that Briffa had been born with a rare intersex condition known as Incomplete Testicular Feminisation (now referred to as Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

Establishing that Briffa was genetically male, doctors decided he would be better off assigned as a female. His parents were advised that he was a girl, and to raise him accordingly. They were not told their son had testes; just that he had gonads (which medically, can be either ovaries or testes).


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