Blind mum raises son as girl by mistake
A combination of a rare medical condition, a mother going blind and an absent father has resulted in a boy in China's Sichuan province, who was born with an unusual physical defect, to be mistaken for a girl and raised as the parents' daughter for most of his childhood!
Thirteen years ago, Xiao Ying was born with a severe condition called perineal hypospadias, a birth defect that caused his scrotum to resemble a vagina. "He was born at home and there were no doctors around, so when we couldn't see his genitals, we thought my wife had given birth to a girl," said his father Chen Shiming.
After Xiao Ying was born, Chen left their home in Xinguan village to find work some 600km away in Chongqing city, leaving his wife Wang Li to take care of their child. But a year later, she lost her eyesight to glaucoma and continued to raise their "daughter" on her own.
Xiao Ying grew up playing with dolls and wearing skirts, and no one thought anything of it—until October 2010, when Wang Li was giving him a bath and was shocked to discover "an odd organ" around his crotch. Chen rushed home and they sent their child to the local hospital, but doctors were unable to diagnose his condition with their limited resources.
It wasn't until months later when they sent Xiao Ying to the children's hospital at Chongqing Medical University when doctors there were finally able to conduct chromosome tests and confirm that he was their son!
Since then, Xiao Ying has had to endure three surgeries to correct his physical condition. And since his "gender reassignment" therapy began last year, the confused and embarrassed 13-year-old boy has hid himself away from people and the world. "He's even scared to go to the toilet. He doesn't know which bathroom to use, the boys or the girls," said his mum.
Worried that he would be subjected to ridicule and bullying by his schoolmates, his parents transferred him to a new school in another town where no one would know his situation and he could have a fresh start with new friends. However, his mum says, "He's still not happy."
"He was very cheerful before this, always playful and sociable, going out with his friends," she said. But now he refuses to meet strangers and doesn't talk as much as before. His mum added that they would have to decide on a new name for their son when they change the details of his birth certificate.
Dr Liu Junhong from Chongqing Medical University said that Xiao Ying needs one more operation, perhaps his last, in the coming months. After that, he would be "just like other boys" and none of his sexual functions would be affected.
Source: Chongqing Business Daily
Published: 17th July 2012