Katie Baratz thought she was a typical teenage girl. Katie was born with XY chromosomes a condition called androgen insensitivity syndrome, or AIS. This intersex condition is one of many that pushes the boundaries of “normal” sex categories.
In 1990, AIS was still called “testicular feminization,” a name I hate. It makes me sound like a failed man, not a woman at all. The belief since the 1950s was that if a woman knew she had this, she’d go crazy or become a lesbian. The doctor told my stunned parents that I could grow up normally, even adopt, but I shouldn’t know I had XY chromosomes or testes. My parents decided to tell me gradually.