55-Year-Old Gets Historic, Accurate Birth Certificate

Sara Kelly Keenan wasn't told the truth of her genes until recently
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2017 8:38 AM CST
After Decades of Lies, Woman Gets 'Intersex' Birth Certificate
Sara Kelly Keenan became the first American to obtain an "intersex" birth certificate.   (Linked In)

Sara Kelly Keenan is 55 years old, and the birth certificate she has just now received is making headlines. Born in Brooklyn and put up for adoption, she was initially called a boy, then three weeks later, her birth certificate declared her a girl, NBC News reports. With female genitalia, Keenan, 55, spent decades unaware that she had male genes and mixed reproductive organs. She tells CNN that with hospital records missing, she is still unsure if she underwent genital surgery as did most intersex infants (then called "hermaphrodites"). Although raised as a girl, "I wanted to be a boy," she says. "I never felt I belonged or fit in anywhere." She began hormone replacement therapy at age 16, having been told her female body couldn't produce the hormones it needed. "That lie stood for 30 more years," she says.

When her father told her the truth in 2012, she went to an endocrinologist who confirmed she had male genes; next came a quest to change her birth certificate's gender field. Last Tuesday, Keenan, 55, got her wish when an intersex birth certificate from New York City arrived in the mail at her California home. According to intersex advocacy group's interACT tracking, it is the country's first such certificate (another American has one reading "hermaphrodite"), though similar efforts are underway in other states by gender-variant people to obtain birth certificates. Keenan tells CNN the "validation" of her new birth certificate is "wonderful," but she's "not content, because infant genital surgeries are still happening in America." She wants to help other intersex people find a legal way to "embrace" their difference. ("Non-binary" is a legal gender in this state.)

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