A nonbinary person who was born with both male and female sex organs has revealed how she pretended to have her period in school to fit in and that she does not identify as a man or a woman despite looking ‘feminine ‘.
Alicia Roth Weigel, 30, spent most of her life hiding the fact that she was born with a vagina and testicles – but without a uterus or ovaries, and says she had no idea she was intersex until she read a magazine article about the term at the age of 27.
The activist, from Austin, Texas, even wore tampons as a teenager and had only heard the term “ intersex ” when she read a Vogue article about model Hanne Gaby Odiele in 2017.
Alicia Roth Weigel, 30, from Austin, Texas, spent most of her life hiding the fact that she was born with a vagina and testicles, but no uterus or ovaries
She said, ‘Her story sounded so much like mine. I had never heard this word “intersex” before. Then I discovered I was intersex. ‘
Alicia is now advocating for greater awareness for the intersex community and is campaigning against doctors performing medical procedures on intersex babies without their informed consent.
What is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS)?
Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) affects the development of a person’s genitals and reproductive organs.
There are two types of AIS: complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) and partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS).
The genitals of a person with CAIS appear feminine, while those of a person with PAIS may appear feminine or masculine.
Sometimes PAIS is discovered because a baby’s genitals are not as expected for a baby boy or girl.
It is caused by a genetic change that is passed on to the child through the female line.
PAIS is usually noticed at birth, while CAIS is more difficult to spot because the genitals usually look like another girl’s.
It is often not diagnosed until puberty, when menstruation does not start and pubic and underarm hair do not develop.
She was born with internal testicles removed when she was less than a year old – a move Alicia described as ‘castration’.
She said, “Basically they neutered me. If you take someone’s testicles without their permission, it is castration. ‘
Alicia said that although she presents as female, she also identifies as nonbinary.
She added: ‘I use both she and she pronouns. I was never given the choice to identify myself.
‘One day we won’t even know the gender. We will not have these male and female and non-binary boxes. It’s all about thinking outside the box. ‘
Alicia was born with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS), a condition that means a child has XY chromosomes and internal testicles, but a woman is showing.
Experts believe that about 1.7 percent of the U.S. population is born with intersex traits – which is comparable to the number of people born with red hair.
Alicia added: “My body does not respond to androgen hormones, which most people consider” male “hormones.
Even though I have XY chromosomes, my body converts some level of testosterone into estrogen.
“So my testicles would have produced those hormones and my body would have converted it into estrogen.”
But since her testicles had been removed, Alicia relied on hormone medications.
She said, ‘I actually grew up on hormone withdrawal.
“The most similar thing I can describe it on is menopause.
‘Women going through menopause get mental fog and osteoporosis and hot flashes – that’s what I’ve been through.
‘I grew up with depression, I had to get my bone density checked all the time.
‘None of that was medically necessary. It was a decision that could have been delayed and probably avoided.
Alicia had her internal testicles removed when she was less than a year old, in a procedure she called ‘castration’, and she didn’t hear the term ‘intersex’ until she read a Vogue magazine article about intersex model Hanne Gaby Odiele in 2017
Alicia and came out as intersex while testifying before the Texas Senate (pictured right, with a friend) in a public hearing over the botched bathroom bill
Throughout her childhood, Alicia relied on hormone medications and grew up on hormone withdrawal, causing symptoms she described as menopause and depression, and having to have her bone density checked
My body now relies on external hormones to be okay.
‘What we are fighting for as a community is that these unnecessary operations should not be carried out when we are small.
“Wait until we are an age where we can have a say in the decisions of our own body.”
Alicia was advised by doctors not to tell anyone that she was born with both testicles and a vagina.
She added, ‘Doctors said people would make fun of me, so I should lie and make up stories that fit the normal paradigm.
“ When I was in high school and my friends got their periods, I wore tampons, even though I would never need a tampon because I don’t have a uterus or ovaries, so I don’t menstruate.
Alicia now advocates for more awareness for the intersex community and campaigns against doctors performing medical procedures on intersex babies without their informed consent
‘When I had boyfriends I told them I had fertility problems so I couldn’t have kids, but I didn’t tell them the truth.
What kind of man would like to date a woman born with internal testicles? You end up creating a very false story that fits into what society considers normal.
“My brother didn’t know, my grandmothers didn’t know, my friends didn’t know.”
Eventually, Alicia came out as intersex while testifying before the Texas Senate at a public hearing over the botched bathroom bill.
Alicia said, “The legislation said you should use the bathroom that was matched to the gender on your birth certificate.
“It was meant to hurt transgender people, but it also propagated the lie that everyone is born male and female.”
Alicia said doctors advised her not to tell anyone that she was born with both testicles and a vagina, adding that they said her people would ‘make fun of her’ and that she should ‘make up stories’ that in the normal paradigm would fit (Alicia is shown with a friend)
She is now campaigning against legislation targeting trans and intersex care, including a bill that would classify gender-affirming care in Texas as child abuse.
It would mean that parents who gave their children access to hormone replacement therapy and puberty inhibitors, treatments often prescribed to trans minors, could lose custody of their children.
The legislation contains an exception that allows doctors to operate on intersex children.
Alicia added, “The broader problem is that this is anti-trans law, but it also contains this loophole that you can perform surgeries on intersex children.
So basically they say we shouldn’t give this care to the kids who want it, but we should force it on the kids who don’t want it.
“My surgery was done when I was less than a year old – I couldn’t consent, I couldn’t even talk.”