A man who went to hospital with a kidney stone was stunned when a nurse gave him his results – and revealed that he was actually a woman.
Steve Crecelius, a photographer from Denver, Colorado, was born with both male and female traits and had long repressed his feminine side.
But after an ultrasound made the discovery, he no longer lives as a man and goes by ‘Stevie’ – a move that his wife and their six children support.
‘I remember wearing my mom’s clothes and makeup, very secretly, not telling anybody,’ Crecelius, who chose to hide behind a male persona, told Fox31.
But 40 years later, the nurse gave the explanation for his feelings, revealing that he was intersex.
‘I had a kidney stone and we’re in the emergency room,’ Crecelius said. ‘The nurse is reading the ultrasound and says, “Huh, this says you’re a female”. It validated everything I had always felt inside.’
While Crecelius appeared to have male genitalia, the ultrasound indicated he also had internal female sex organs – just one of the conditions under the umbrella term ‘intersex’.
When they arrived home, his wife Debbie forced him to talk about it – a conversation that Crecelius had avoided in fear that he would lose his family.
But rather than walking away, she was supportive, choosing to deal with the news by taking Stevie shopping for her first bra, The Denver Post reported.
Debbie admitted it has not been easy and feared that she would never get her husband back – but stood by Stevie, saying: ‘You will be who you are’.
‘I didn’t sign on for this, but who signs on for anything?’ Debbie told Fox31. ‘She’s the same person she was as a he on the inside.’
They battled through by being open about their concerns as they adjusted through the changes.
‘We asked each other questions,’ Debbie told the Post. ‘He asked me, “What if you meet someone along the way?” I said, “What if you meet someone?” The road goes both ways.’
The couple, who have now been together more than 25 years, still share a room and a bed together.
‘She still relates to my heart and soul, and I still relate to hers, and I think that that’s the essence of true love,’ Crecelius said.
Although Stevie was concerned about telling the couple’s six children, they were supportive. She chose to tell them individually, and was most worried about telling one of her sons, a Marine.
But ‘within a few minutes, all of them said, “I don’t care dad; I love you for who you are”,’ Stevie said.
She called herself the ‘luckiest woman in the world’. ‘It’s so liberating to be able to be and express how I feel inside,’ she said.
Crecelius has decided not to undergo gender reassignment surgery but continues to take hormones.
WHAT IS INTERSEX?
Intersex is the term for a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals [the testes and ovaries].
For example, a person may have male genitals but also have fallopian tubes and ovaries. Or a person might have female genitalia but have testes inside their body or male chromosomes.
The condition, which used to be called hermaphroditism, means that a person cannot be classified clearly as a male or female.
It is hard to determine the number of cases in the U.S., due to how a person may appear to be of a decisive gender.
But the Intersex Society of North America notes that medical experts say one in 1,500 children are born with noticeably atypical genitalia.