Long-standing rumor holds the actress Jamie Lee Curtis acknowledged in an interview the she was born through both male and also female sex organs.

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Barbara MikkelsonPublished6 April 2001

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Actress Jamie Lee Curtis identified in an interview that she was born with both male and also female sex organs.

What to make of the boy of two successful and also famous actors who grows up to achieve an equal measure of call in the same field? What if this gal has actually a boyish-sounding name and adopts kids rather than bears her own? A rumor, apparently. And also one she would rather not talk about at all:

One story that keeps ~ above circulating around Hollywood is the Jamie Lee Curtis was born one hermaphrodite and also had to undergo surgery after birth in bespeak to end up being legally female! This has actually been told to me by civilization who have operated on films with Jamie and also by one doctor who cases to have actually seen the records at Cedars Sinai.

According come an oft-repeated whisper, Jamie Lee Curtis recognized that she was born intersex (the desired medical term for persons of faint gender, instead of the outdated “hermaphrodite”).

So? Is she, or no she?

No one however Ms. Curtis, her parents, and also her doctors has actually the definitive answer come this question, and none of them is talking. Contrary to common assertion, Ms. Curtis never ever made together a revelation during an interview or windy appearance and also has repeatedly declined deigning to administer a an answer to this rumor, and also her medical professionals — also if they had actually something come say and also wanted come say it — space bound by laws regarding doctor-patient confidentiality.

This rumor is frequently lent credibility by world who have heard it repeated as reality by their university professors (especially those v specialties relating come intersexuality). No the hearer no one the teller ever before seems to it is in able to provide a credible explanation of exactly how he knows this item of info to it is in true, the chain that transmission always tracing ago to the notoriously unreliable “Someone else told me about it.” together happens over and also over, even the many trusted of sources have the right to sometimes take it a widespread rumor at challenge value, then parrot it as fact.

Okay, so we merely don’t know. Why, then, is this rumor so widespread?

Jamie Lee is the daughter the Tony Curtis and also Janet Leigh. At the moment of Jamie Lee’s arrival right into this world, her father to be a roguishly good-looking top man, an actor female moviegoers couldn’t help but swoon over. Her mom was a beauty and a famous actress. Your union created two daughters, Kelly Lee in 1956 and Jamie Lee in 1958.

In your day, Curtis and also Leigh were one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming couples, two successful, ambitious, famous world who appeared to have actually it all, v that “all” consisting of a happy marriage and also two well children. (As is frequently the case, appearances were deceiving: Curtis and also Leigh divorced in 1962 ~ 11 year of marriage, and also there were more difficult times ahead because that both that them.) it’s thus feasible that the current rumor around Jamie Lee stems from an ancient backlash versus her parents, long-ago envy expressed together a slander around what the union of two “perfect” people had produced. Simply as the fox decries together sour the grapes that hang the end of his reach, so can meanspirited persons fed up through hearing about the beautiful civilization spread a rumor that, in your minds, at least, cut these stars under to size.

Two facts loan an aura that credence to the rumor the Jamie Lee to be born with both male and also female body parts. The first is her two-way name: follow to the rumor, a boyish appellation was bestowed upon she by parents that hadn’t yet decided whether to have actually a young or a girl “made” of their baby and also wanted come be ready to walk either way, but that no the instance of it. Janet Leigh explained how she concerned choose the name:

At that time, us didn’t recognize ahead the time if it would be a girl or a boy, so once I to be pregnant with Kelly, my finest friend Jackie Gershwin said, “Why nothing you call the baby Kelly, for this reason if the a girl, the works, and also if it’s a boy, the works?” and she assumed the very same thing through Jamie. The babies were named before they to be born due to the fact that Jackie said, “This way, we won’t have to worry around it!”

If the names to be truly chosen before the kids arrived, the puts payment to the id that “Jamie Lee” was so christened in solution to a medical condition that would certainly only have actually been uncovered after her delivery. (Jamie Lee Curtis to be born long before the breakthrough of medical modern technology that might identify dual-sexed fetuses.)

The second fact the supports the rumor is Ms. Curtis’ own children: lock adopted. Though couples opt for adoptive youngsters over natural progeny for any variety of reasons, the is true the operation important to “correct” intersex characteristics in a woman infant would leave her unable to bear children.

Degrees the intersexuality vary in soot from existence of second Y chromosome to gift born v a mixed collection of genitals. Therapy of situations of blatant intersexuality is normally (but no always) operation in nature, with reconstruction performed on the infant patient to add or remove body components so as to end up through a child completely male or mrs in physical appearance. Hormone are likewise given towards this end, but there is a limit to what deserve to be transformed medically. Though an figure of much less ambiguous sex-related traits have the right to be constructed, completely functional reproductive guts cannot.

According to Dr. Ann Fausto-Sterling, a recognized experienced in this ar of study, 1-1/2 to 2% of every births do not autumn strictly within the tight meaning of all-male or all-female, also if the son looks “normal.” In reaching her numbers, Dr. Fausto-Sterling count all incidents of intersexuality, native mild to extreme. The incidence of youngsters with blended genitalia is pegged in ~ 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 3,000, or 0.033 to 0.05 percent of every births.

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(Many technical names have been assigned to define sexual ambiguity, consisting of testicular feminization, transgendered, and also androgen insensitivity syndrome. Rather than get bogged down right here in explanation of them, we straight readers to monitor the connect in the “Additional Information” ar of this page for further discussion of the subject.)

Intersexuality is a reality; some kids are ambiguously sexed at birth. However, one particular point demands to it is in made, and made fairly vehemently: The existence of such anatomical sport is not reason in chin to mean that Jamie Lee Curtis has any type of of them. Using the one to bolster id in the second is akin to claiming the existence of the Atlantic s somehow proves a details ship sank in it.

It is a informing commentary ~ above the skewed prominence we give any kind of matter relating come sexuality the this rumor exists at all. 

Additional information: Intersex: The Body, The me (Harvard Medicine, Winter 2020)