There are three sexes in Salinas where being a pseudohermaphrodite is so common it's accepted alongside male and female
At puberty one in 90 children born there make a natural transformation from male to female.
Referred to as the ‘guevedoces’ which literally translates as ‘penis at 12’ - these children are known in medical terms as 'pseudohermaphrodite' - and were featured in a BBC 2 series called Countdown to Life - the Extraordinary Making of You.
|Happy: Johnny was born a female but became a man during puberty when his testosterone began to flow|
“I remember I used to wear a little red dress,” said Johnny who at 24 was once known as Felecitia and did not have a penis.
The guevedoces were uncovered by Cornell University endocrinologist Dr Julianne Imperato in the 1970s who travelled to the region to learn more about rumours that girls were morphing into boys.
And in the four decades since there have been studies, more has been learned about the perfectly natural condition.
The condition (pseudohaemaphroditsm) is now known as Intersex. In Johnny's case, it was caused by a deficient enzyme, 5 alpha- reductase which normally converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. DHT is responsible for the differentiation of the male external genitalia--so if deficient, a baby boy can look like a girl.
It is not until puberty, when testosterone flows, their voices break and they grow a male sexual
reproductive organ that they become recognised as male.
“By a quirk of chance Dr Imperato’s research was picked up by the American pharmaceutical giant, Merck.
"They used her discovery to create a drug called finasteride, which blocks the action of 5-α-reductase.
“It is now widely used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate and male pattern baldness. For which, I’m sure, many men are truly grateful.”
Source: The Mirror