Woman Didn't Know She Was A Female Until She Was 19

A woman with a rare condition grew up thinking she was a male until she was 19.

Lisa-Lee Dark, an opera singer, was born with the condition which meant that doctors mistook her for a male when she was born and she spent the next 19 years believing that to be the truth.

She went through years of torment and bullying at school, where she struggled to fit in.

Speaking to Wales Online, Lisa-Lee said: "When I was growing up I just wanted to die.

Credit: Wales Online
Credit: Wales Online

"Children picked up from a very early age that I was different. I was supposed to be male but I was quite effeminate and I looked more female.

"I was a bit of a loner and my only friend was a girl. I was called all the usual 'gay' names like 'poof' and 'bender', but on top of all that I was also kicked and punched daily.

"I had people spit in my face, throw bricks and stones at me. Some of the bullies would even throw dog faeces at me or rub it into me."

Aged 15, Lisa-Lee was told she had an inter-sex medical condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). The condition causes an excess of male hormone testosterone while the foetus is developing in the womb, despite being genetically female.

Lisa-Lee explained: "When I was in my mother's womb I was overexposed to testosterone which meant my female genitalia was enlarged and looked like a penis.

Credit: Wales Online
Credit: Wales Online

"It can make it quite easy to mistake newborn girls for boys, although ovaries and womb remain intact."

She went on to say that usually the condition is spotted at a young age, but in her case she was 15. She also says she was told she would die in her mid-20s - tragically, Lisa-Lee says she was 'actually happy' to be given the death sentence, due to the bullying she had endured.

When she hit puberty, Lisa-Lee began to devolve breasts, and she says it was at this point, doctors prescribed her with steroids. She went on to say that the doctors believed she had 'type of hermaphrodite condition', and gave her male hormones which caused her to gain seven stone.

Credit: Wales Online
Credit: Wales Online

Now, Lisa-Lee is officially recognised as a female, but she says she doesn't truly identify as either sex - saying she feels 'in the middle' and describing herself as 'intersexed', but that she is trying to learn to accept that she's 'more female'.

Lisa-Lee says that growing up she was left feeling vulnerable which she believes made her 'easy prey' for bullying. She also suffered sexual abuse, and has only recently felt strong enough to go to the police and report it.

Throughout it all, Lisa-Lee, 36, felt she could turn to music to help her through and has since released several albums.

"If I didn't have music then I don't think I'd be alive," she told the paper.

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013