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Intersex people are born with biological characteristics that don’t fit inside the strict binary of “female” and “male.” There are lots of different ways of being intersex, which can lead to different experiences during puberty.

Some intersex people, like those with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and Turner Syndrome, go through puberty later than usual or don’t experience all the usual parts of puberty, like hair growth.

Other intersex people, like those with Swyer Syndrome, won’t go through puberty unless they use hormone replacement therapy. People with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) may not actually find out that they’re intersex until puberty, when they don’t get their period as expected.

In some cases, your body may change in ways that you feel don’t align with your gender identity. For example, some boys with AIS or Klinefelter Syndrome may grow breasts during puberty, and some girls with 5-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency may find their voices deepening or facial hair growing. Some people decide to use things like hormones or undergo surgeries to help their bodies better match their gender identity, and others don’t. Only you should get to decide what changes you want to make to your body.

If you’re intersex, puberty might feel lonely or confusing if you don’t know anyone else going through what you’re going through. Some intersex people find that talking with other people who share their identity and experience can help them feel less alone and more comfortable with their body. You can check out InterACT for resources and support. Remember that being intersex isn’t unhealthy or bad. No one’s body is wrong just because it doesn’t fit into someone else’s narrow ideas about sex and gender.