Long-standing rumor holds the actress Jamie Lee Curtis recognized in an interview the she to be born with both male and female sex organs.

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Barbara MikkelsonPublished6 April 2001

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Actress Jamie Lee Curtis identified in an interview the she was born with both male and female sex organs.

What to make of the child of 2 successful and also famous actors that grows up to accomplish an equal measure of call in the very same field? What if this gal has a boyish-sounding name and also adopts children rather than bears she own? A rumor, apparently. And also one she would rather not discuss at all:

One story the keeps ~ above circulating around Hollywood is that Jamie Lee Curtis to be born an hermaphrodite and had come undergo surgery after birth in order to come to be legally female! This has actually been told to me by civilization who have worked on movies with Jamie and by one physician who insurance claims to have seen the records at Cedars Sinai.

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acknowledged that she was born intersex (the wanted medical term because that persons of faint gender, replacing the outdated “hermaphrodite”).

So? Is she, or isn’t she?

No one yet Ms. Curtis, her parents, and her doctors has actually the critical answer to this question, and none of lock is talking. Contrary to common assertion, Ms. Curtis never made together a revelation during an interview or public appearance and has repeatedly declined deigning to carry out a solution to this rumor, and her medical professionals — also if they had actually something come say and wanted come say the — space bound by laws about doctor-patient confidentiality.

This rumor is regularly lent credibility by civilization who have actually heard it repeated as reality by their college professors (especially those with specialties relating come intersexuality). Neither the hearer no one the teller ever seems to be able to carry out a credible explanation of exactly how he knows this piece of info to be true, the chain the transmission always tracing earlier to the notoriously unreliable “Someone rather told me around it.” as happens over and over, even the many trusted of sources have the right to sometimes take a widespread rumor at confront value, climate parrot it together fact.

Okay, so we just don’t know. Why, then, is this rumor for this reason 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 to be a roguishly good-looking top man, an actor female moviegoers couldn’t help but swoon over. Her mom was a beauty and also a famous actress. Your union produced two daughters, Kelly Lee in 1956 and Jamie Lee in 1958.

In your day, Curtis and also Leigh were among Hollywood’s up-and-coming couples, 2 successful, ambitious, famous human being who appeared to have it all, with that “all” consisting of a happy marriage and two fine children. (As is often the case, appearances were deceiving: Curtis and Leigh divorced in 1962 after 11 years of marriage, and there to be more daunting times ahead for both that them.) the thus possible that the existing rumor around Jamie Lee stems from an old backlash against her parents, long-ago envy expressed together a slander around what the union of 2 “perfect” civilization had produced. Simply as the fox decries together sour the grapes that hang out of his reach, so could meanspirited persons fed up through hearing around the beautiful world spread a rumor that, in their minds, in ~ least, cuts these stars under to size.

Two facts loan an aura that credence come the rumor the Jamie Lee was born v both male and female body parts. The an initial is her two-way name: according to the rumor, a boyish appellation to be bestowed upon her by parents who hadn’t yet determined whether to have actually a young or a girl “made” of their baby and wanted come be ready to walk either way, yet that wasn’t the situation of it. Janet Leigh explained how she concerned choose the name:

At the time, us didn’t know ahead of time if it would be a girl or a boy, so when I was pregnant through Kelly, my best friend Jackie Gershwin said, “Why nothing you contact the infant Kelly, for this reason if the a girl, it works, and also if that a boy, it works?” and also she thought the exact same thing with Jamie. The babies to be named prior to they to be born because Jackie said, “This way, us won’t need to worry about it!”

If the names to be truly chosen prior to the youngsters arrived, the puts payment to the concept that “Jamie Lee” was so christened in solution to a medical problem that would only have actually been found after she delivery. (Jamie Lee Curtis was born long before the breakthrough of medical modern technology that might identify dual-sexed fetuses.)

The 2nd fact that supports the rumor is Ms. Curtis’ own children: they’re adopted. Despite couples opt because that adoptive children over organic progeny for any variety of reasons, that is true the operation vital to “correct” intersex features in a female infant would certainly leave she unable to bear children.

Degrees the intersexuality vary in intensity from visibility of secondary Y chromosome to being born with a mixed collection of genitals. Therapy of cases of turoulend intersexuality is generally (but not always) surgical in nature, with reconstruction performed top top the child patient to include or eliminate body components so as to end up with a child completely male or woman in physics appearance. Hormones are also given in the direction of this end, but there is a limit to what deserve to be transformed medically. Despite an figure of less ambiguous sexual traits deserve to be constructed, totally functional reproductive guts cannot.

According come Dr. Ann Fausto-Sterling, a recognized experienced in this field of study, 1-1/2 to 2% of every births perform not fall strictly within the tight an interpretation of all-male or all-female, even if the kid looks “normal.” In getting to her numbers, Dr. Fausto-Sterling counted all occurrences of intersexuality, from mild to extreme. The incidence of children with blended genitalia is pegged at 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 3,000, or 0.033 come 0.05 percent of all births.

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(Many technical names have actually been assigned to define sexual ambiguity, consisting of testicular feminization, transgendered, and androgen insensitivity syndrome. Fairly than acquire bogged down here in descriptions of them, we direct readers to monitor the connect in the “Additional Information” ar of this web page for further conversation of the subject.)

Intersexuality is a reality; some kids are ambiguously sexed in ~ birth. However, one details point requirements to it is in made, and made rather vehemently: The existence of together anatomical variations is not factor in itself to mean that Jamie Lee Curtis has any kind of of them. Using the one come bolster id in the second is akin to claiming the presence of the Atlantic ocean somehow proves a specific ship sank in it.

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

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