Blume: Aussie on Tiktok documents being intersex: What is intersex?
A young Australian who grew up thinking they were biologically a female through their childhood and teen years revealed how they found out they were intersex as they try to raise awareness about the rare condition.
While Blume, from Melbourne, may look like a biological woman they found out from doctors at aged 16 they were neither male or female after they asked why they had never started puberty.
Blume is going viral on TikTok for telling their story, educating viewers on what it means to be intersex and sharing their ‘shock’ after finding out they had both a semi-formed vagina as well as testicles inside them.
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A young Aussie, who goes by Blume online, is going viral for sharing their experience finding out they are intersex in their ate teens after living their life female
Blume is going viral on TikTok for telling their story, educating viewers on what it means to be intersex and sharing their shock at finding out they had both a semi-formed vagina and testicles
‘I myself am intersex. Yes, believe it or not, I’m actually not a female – biologically not a female. What the hell, right? I know I look like a female but that’s not what my DNA says,’ Blume said in a clip that has racked up more than 780,000 views.
They explained they have Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome or ASI, meaning they are resistant to male hormones, and started developing in the womb as a boy.
‘Because I was an XY chromosome and I couldn’t really form as a female because I didn’t really have the right equipment and I couldn’t form fully as a male so I kind of went somewhere in between,’ they said.
They explained they have Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome or ASI meaning they are resistant to male hormones and started developing in the womb as a boy
Blume went through childhood thinking they were a biological female but in their late teens was informed they were intersex after they told a doctor they had not yet got their period or any body hair
What is intersex?
Intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of ‘female’ or ‘male’.
Doctors always assign intersex babies a legal sex (male or female, in most states), but, just like with non-intersex people, that doesn’t mean that’s the gender identity they’ll grow up to have.
Being intersex is a naturally occurring variation in humans, and it isn’t a medical problem — therefore, medical interventions (like surgeries or hormone therapy) on children usually aren’t medically necessary.
Source: Planned Parenthood
‘I popped out into the world singing a song and everyone was like ‘oh what a beautiful baby girl’ but what they didn’t know is I actually had balls living and thriving inside of me – my beautiful gonads which I still have to this day.’
Blume went through childhood thinking they were female but in their late teens mentioned to a doctor they had not yet got their period or any body hair and asked when puberty was going to ‘kick in’.
‘The doctor was like ‘ok that’s weird, either you’re a really late bloomer or something’s going on’. Something was going on. I found out one day that yes, I was intersex,’ they said.
‘That was massive shock for me because first of all I had never heard of it. That was scary for me to hear and to resonate with.’
It was the first time that doctor had ever diagnosed anyone as intersex.
Blume has since struggled to find medical professionals who know much about intersexuality and said they have had some ‘terrible experiences’ with doctors which is one of the reasons they’re trying to raise awareness.
They said they found out they had testicles growing inside them and they didn’t have a ‘fully formed vagina’ which they said ‘made sense’ thinking back to an incident in when they were 14.
‘One time my friend was too scared to put a tampon in and I was like ‘I’ll do it first and I’ll tell you how it is’ even though I had never had my period before,’ they said.
‘It didn’t work. It didn’t go anywhere, I had no idea.’
Blume said they had to ‘create their own’ vagina through a process called dilation as theirs was only ‘a couple of centimetres’ deep.
Blume said they identify as non-binary, intersex but mainly identify as their ‘glorious wonderful self’ and although they grew up thinking they were a biologically female, they always felt different
‘It was a pretty painful process, it was horrible and I was in this teenage life and I was like ‘I wanna have sex and do all this stuff’ but I was like gotta make my vagina first,’ they said.
‘Sex was extremely painful for the first three years but it’s all good now.’
Wearing purple and yellow, the intersex colours, and sitting in front of their intersex flag, Blume said they are non-binary but mainly identify as their ‘glorious wonderful self’.
‘I identify as intersex. It’s my gender identity and biological make-up – I just identify as me and although I did grow up thinking I was a girl, I always felt a little bit different,’ they said.
They added, however, intersex people identify as a range of different genders and sexualities that are personal to their own circumstances.
What is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome?
Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a rare condition that affects the sexual development and function of an individual.
The body is insensitive to the action of the male sex hormone androgen, and hence, despite having the genetic makeup of a male, the child grows to up to demonstrate female sexual characteristics.
Androgen insensitivity can be divided into two main types:
- Complete androgen insensitivity: The sex organs are completely insensitive to androgen; hence, the sex organs of the child have a female appearance, with undescended testes.
- Partial androgen insensitivity: The sex organs respond partially to androgen; hence partially developed male and female genitalia may be present, and the testes are partially descended.
In case of complete androgen insensitivity, symptoms are not obvious at birth.
The genitalia appears female with the presence of labia and vagina, while the undescended testes are often not detected until later investigation.
Symptoms appear after puberty, when menstrual periods do not occur, and there is the presence of scant or no pubic or underarm hair growth.
Breast development occurs normally. The vagina is shorter, which may cause difficulty during intercourse, and uterus and ovaries are absent.
In partial androgen insensitivity, affected babies have a micro penis (very small penis) or enlarged clitoris, partially undescended testes, and hypospadias (urogenital opening of the penis on the underside rather than the tip).
Small breasts can develop. While the external genitalia may appear female, there is no uterus or ovaries present