What happens during puberty if I’m intersex?
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 is as common as having red hair.
Some intersex people experience typical puberties while others can have different experiences during puberty. For example, 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.
Some boys with AIS or Klinefelter Syndrome may grow breast tissue during puberty, and some girls with 5-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency may find their voices deepening or facial hair growing. Some people decide to use medicines to address these developments, and some don’t.
Remember, being intersex is healthy and normal. Many people’s bodies don’t fit into someone else’s narrow ideas about sex and gender. You are the only one who should decide how you want your body to be.
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 or IC4E for resources and support.