Nadia Shira Cohen

About me



  • HarpersSons and Daughters



In an old salt mining town in the arid poor area of the Dominican Republic, 1 out of 90 babies is born with a Sexual Development Disorder known as 5d or 5α-reductase deficiency5α-reductase deficiency. The disorder is caused by a lack of dihydrotestosterone in the womb and causes babies to be born with what looks to be a vagina. The children are often raised as girls until the onset of puberty and a spurt of testosterone causes them to take on characteristics of men, including the growth of their genitals. The medical anomaly in the town of Salinas and its neighboring Sala Dillo have been studied by a prominent Dominican sexual disorder doctor in the 1970s, named Teófilo Gautier. Although he concludes that the disorder, which is passed down through a gene is most likely the result of pervasive intermarrying, his conclusions still leave many questions. What is most notable however of children with the disorder, is that although they do face discrimination, they are widely accepted by the community, in an otherwise patriarchal society that holds steadfast on gender roles.

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