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

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Barbara MikkelsonPublished6 April 2001

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Actress Jamie Lee Curtis recognized in one interview the she to be born v both male and female sex organs.

What to do of the child of two successful and famous actors who grows up to attain an same measure of fame in the exact same field? What if this gal has actually a boyish-sounding name and also adopts youngsters rather than bears her own? A rumor, apparently. And one she would fairly not talk about at all:

One story the keeps top top circulating roughly Hollywood is the Jamie Lee Curtis to be born one hermaphrodite and also had come undergo surgical procedure after birth in order to come to be legally female! This has been told to me by civilization who have worked on films with Jamie and also by one medical professional who insurance claims to have seen the records at Cedars Sinai.

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recognized that she was born intersex (the wanted medical term because that persons of faint gender, replacing the outdated “hermaphrodite”).

So? Is she, or no she?

No one but Ms. Curtis, she parents, and her doctors has the critical answer come this question, and also none of them is talking. Contradictory to typical assertion, Ms. Curtis never made together a revelation throughout an interview or publicly appearance and has repeatedly declined deigning to carry out a an answer to this rumor, and also her physicians — also if they had something come say and wanted to say that — room bound through laws about doctor-patient confidentiality.

This rumor is regularly lent credibility by people who have actually heard it repeated as truth by their university professors (especially those v specialties relating to intersexuality). No the hearer nor the teller ever before seems to it is in able to provide a credible explanation of exactly how he to know this piece of information to it is in true, the chain the transmission always tracing ago to the notoriously unreliable “Someone else told me around it.” together happens over and over, also the most trusted that sources can sometimes take it a widespread rumor at challenge value, then parrot it as fact.

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

Jamie Lee is the daughter the Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. At the time of Jamie Lee’s arrival into this world, her father was a roguishly good-looking leading man, an gibbs female moviegoers couldn’t aid but swoon over. Her mom was a beauty and also a famous actress. Their union developed two daughters, Kelly Lee in 1956 and Jamie Lee in 1958.

In your day, Curtis and Leigh were among Hollywood’s up-and-coming couples, two successful, ambitious, famous people who appeared to have actually it all, through that “all” including a happy marriage and two good children. (As is regularly the case, appearances were deceiving: Curtis and Leigh divorced in 1962 after 11 year of marriage, and there to be more an overwhelming times ahead because that both of them.) the thus possible that the current rumor around Jamie Lee stems from an old backlash against her parents, long-ago envy expressed as a slander about what the union of two “perfect” civilization had produced. Just as the fox decries as sour the grapes the hang out of his reach, so could meanspirited persons fed up v hearing about the beautiful civilization spread a rumor that, in their minds, at least, cut these stars down to size.

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

At the time, us didn’t understand ahead of time if it would be a girl or a boy, so when I was pregnant through Kelly, my finest friend Jackie Gershwin said, “Why nothing you speak to the baby Kelly, so if it’s a girl, that works, and also if that a boy, it works?” and she assumed the very same thing with Jamie. The babies were named before they were born because Jackie said, “This way, us won’t need to worry about 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 an answer to a medical condition that would certainly only have actually been uncovered after she delivery. (Jamie Lee Curtis was born long prior to the advancement of medical an innovation that might identify dual-sexed fetuses.)

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

Degrees the intersexuality differ in intensity from existence of an additional Y chromosome to being born v a mixed set of genitals. Treatment of situations of turoulend intersexuality is generally (but not always) surgical in nature, with restoration performed on the child patient to add or remove body parts so as to end up v a child fully male or female in physical appearance. Hormone are additionally given in the direction of this end, but there is a border to what can be altered medically. Though an illustration of less ambiguous sex-related traits have the right to be constructed, fully functional reproductive offal cannot.

According to Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling, a recognized experienced in this ar of study, 1-1/2 to 2% of every births perform not autumn strictly within the tight definition of all-male or all-female, even if the son looks “normal.” In reaching her numbers, Dr. Fausto-Sterling counted all occurrences of intersexuality, native mild to extreme. The incidence of children with mixed genitalia is pegged at 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 3,000, or 0.033 to 0.05 percent of all births.

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

Intersexuality is a reality; some children are ambiguously sexed at birth. However, one specific point demands to it is in made, and made quite vehemently: The presence of such anatomical sport is not reason in itself to intend that Jamie Lee Curtis has any type of of them. Making use of the one to bolster belief in the 2nd is akin come claiming the visibility of the Atlantic s somehow proves a specific ship sank in it.

It is a telling commentary on the skewed importance we give any type of matter relating to sexuality that this rumor exist at all. 

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