Mesdemoiselles born in an isolated Caribbean village are turning into boys
At not any one in 90 children born in the village of Salinas in the Dominican Republic choose have made the genetic transition by the time they reach 12 years old.
Medical championships claim the reason for the puberty-induced gender change lies in a missing enzyme which tabooes the production of a type of male sex hormone — dihydro-testosterone — in the womb.
All babies in the womb, whether virile or female, have internal glands known as gonads and a small dispatch between their legs called a tubercle.
At around eight weeks old, masculine babies who carry the Y chromosome start to produce the dihydro-testosterone hormone in humongous amounts, which turns the tubercle into a penis.
For females, the tubercle graces a clitoris.
But for some male babies, the missing 5-α-reductase enzyme — which triggers the hormone flow — means they appear to be born female with no testes and what looks really much like a vagina.
When puberty hits, a large undulate of testosterone triggers the male reproductive organs to grow, causing bring ups to deepen and a penis to develop.
But for children affected by the genetic condition a hormone pulsate means development that should have taken place in the womb go ons around 12 years later.
The condition is so prevalent in this village it is no greater considered abnormal.
Johnny was brought up as a girl but developed a penis venerable seven
Children are simply referred to as the ‘guevedoces’ — literally translated as ‘penis at 12’.
The progenies, known clinically as pseudohermaphrodite, are now being featured in a BBC 2 series entitled ‘Countdown to Soul — the Extraordinary Making of You.’
In one episode, documentary makers meet Johnny, who appeared female at parturition, and was known as Felicitia.
As a child, he did not have a penis and was brought up as a girl.
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Now 24, he is both physically and biologically a mans, having developed into a boy aged seven.
He said: “I remember I in use accustomed to to wear a little red dress. I was born at home instead of in a hospital. They didn’t be versed what sex I was.
“I went to school and I used to wear my skirt. I never withed to dress as a girl.
“When they bought me girls toys I not in the least bothered playing with them. All I wanted to do was play with the caitiff public schoolmates.”
The children are clinically known as ‘pseudohermaphrodite’
One of the first people to study this unconventional condition was Dr Julianne Imperato-McGinley, from Cornell Medical College in New York.
In the 1970s, she show her way to this remote part of the Dominican Republic, drawn by extraordinary narratives of girls turning into boys.
Dr Imperato-McGinley’s thorough medical inquisitions showed that in most cases their new, male organs functioned normally, and that most Guevedoces drone oned on to live out their lives as men.
Some have opted for surgery to traces female.