It’s a great achievement when we rise above our physical disabilities and outshine others in life. There are many people in this world who are born with rare and genetic health conditions which mar their normal lifestyles and make them a victim of continuous reproach and rebuke as a child.
Inheriting genetic diseases is not in the hands of anyone. It is by sheer bad luck that one has to lead a life with a permanent physical disability. One such unfortunate condition is the Klinefelter syndrome.
This is a genetic abnormality which occurs in males mostly. It is also known as the XXY syndrome. Such people also have high frequencies of psychiatric problems right from their young age.
Roughly, about one in every 500 men seems to be affected by this condition. Such men have less facial hair, wider hips as in women, larger breasts as compared to other males, low energy levels and weaker bones.
They also have the inability of producing sperm. They have an extra set of chromosomes in their male sex cells and that is why this condition is also known as the XXY syndrome rather than the normal XY in a normal male. They have small testes in addition to large breasts.
They also have problems related to their social skills and language skills. They suffer from concentration problems. They talk much later in life and find it tough to express their emotions through words. They also face problems academically like in writing, reading or spelling words.
Their personalities are quitter and docile just like females. They are helpful and caring in nature just like females. They are less active, shy and sometimes sensitive just like girls. They also seem less-confident about themselves. Most of them suffer from depression due to these problems. They don’t mingle with boys of their age but learn to adjust themselves in the male society once they become matured.
Following are some celebrities and famous people with klinefelter syndrome:
1. George Washington
George Washington, the once President of the United States was rumored to have been affected by klinefelter’s syndrome. He did not have any biological children but only 2 adopted ones with his wife Martha. Such people are mostly infertile. They are also very tall. Although no official records proved that the President had the disease, he had all the bodily symptoms proving that he had the syndrome.
2. Lili Elbe
This Danish artist was born in the year 1882. His childhood name was Einar, Andrea Magnus Wegener. She made beautiful paintings of women dressed in chic fashion clothes with haunted eyes. Later, after a sex change surgery, he was publicly introduced as Einar’s sister to protect the family name. He was so fed up with this syndrome that he underwent a sex reassignment surgery in the year 1931 to correct all his bodily features. He had a feminine looking face, body structure and legs.
Dr. Ludwig Levy-Lenz performed the sex change surgery on him in the year 1930. But she later died in the year 1931 after an unsuccessful uterus implant surgery. The surgery also involved a construction of a vagina. The surgeries were new at that time. The immune system rejected the foreign bodies developing an infection. She died 3 months post the surgery. She has written a biography called, ‘man into woman’ which was published in the year 1933.
3. Veronique Francoise Caroline Renard
This dutch actress came to know of her syndrome while she was quite young. As a young lad, he underwent a sex reassignment surgery in the year 1982 while he was just 17 years of age. She had feminine looks, wide hips and a very tall height very typical with people having this syndrome. She does not have any kids and lives with her family in Bangkok.
4. Caroline Cossey
Popularly known as Tula, this English model was born and brought up as a male. But she got aware of her personality and quoted repeatedly in her autobiographies of having confused feelings related to her gender. She was often bullied as a child by her friends due to her female like behaviorisms. Later, at the age of 17, it was confirmed that he was suffering from klinefelter’s syndrome and started undergoing hormone therapy.
She possessed the genotype XXXY rather than the XXY present in klinefelter’s syndrome. She started saving money for her sexual reassignment surgery by working as a topless dance performer in Rome. Finally, in December 1974, the 6 footed male became a female and is currently living in the US. She has also played a role in the James Bond movie of 1981. She was assigned as an extra in this film but shortly later after the release of the film, the headline of a local newspaper said that the James Bond Girl was a boy. The rude revelations lead her to think of committing suicide but she responded by releasing her autobiography named, ‘I am a woman’.
5. Caster Semenya
This famous athlete was born as a female in South Africa. She won the Olympic Gold medal for her country in the year 2016. She was rumored to have a rare genetic disorder which gave her an advantage in sports over the others, but it was later diagnosed as klinefelter’s syndrome.
She had a look mixed from both genders. She had breasts but a manly face. Due to the uncertainty of her condition, she was even banned from competitions internationally for over a year. Later, the IAAF cleared her and allowed her to take part in any international athletic competition. She said in one of her interviews later on that God has made her like that and she accepts the way she is.
6. Tom Cruise
Though there is no official backing behind the rumor that Tom Cruise suffers from Klinefelter’s syndrome, there are enough and more reasons to prove the same. Shocking as it may sound, but none of the 3 adopted children of Tom Cruise are his biological ones. Moreover, his height, wide hips and rounded body type more or less confirm the rumor.
7. Jamie Lee Curtis
This famous Hollywood actress is known to have been born with a dual sex or intersex condition. People say that she is a man in reality who is suffering from klinefelter’s syndrome. Her present female looks are the result of the sex reassignment surgery which she underwent. She had till date declined these rumors. People also say that her name Jamie was given to her by her parents who wanted her to have this name no matter what she chooses to become in future.
8. King Tutankhamen
This Egyptian pharaoh ruled the pyramid country in the year between 1332 BC and 1323 BC. This 18th dynasty ruler’s tomb had an astonishing discovery. His statues had womanly breasts just like a young teenage girl. He was childless too to prove the finding. These symptoms lead to the conclusion that he might be suffering from klinefelter’s syndrome.
9. Janet Mock
This American TV producer and writer was given the name Charles as he was born as a male. He later changed his gender via sex reassignment surgery and became a transgender activist to support all those suffering from similar conditions. But till date, she refuses to speak on personal questions regarding her body on television and on interviews.
10. Lauren Foster
Born as a male, this famous South African model chose to lead his life as a transgender. He was diagnosed with Klinefelter’s syndrome quite young and then pursued her life as a female. She rose to fame after modeling in South Africa and Paris, but was disqualified when she wanted to contest in the Miss South Africa beauty pageant.
11. Adele Markham
Born as Mathews, Adele came to know about his condition quite early in life and began taking hormone therapy to develop her completely into a man. Later on in life, after being diagnosed with klinefelter’s syndrome, she decided to become a female. She later had a surgery to turn her into a female.
12. Rene Richards
Dr. Rene Richards a famous ophthalmologist. She rose to fame after a controversy involving her. She was barred from participating in a woman’s single match in the year 1976 because she did not have two X chromosomes. She fought a case and won and later allowed entry. She had a short but successful career as a tennis player later on. She kept her well-guarded secret to herself for a long time until the news leaked out during her rejection in the tennis tournament.
Till date, none know the reason behind couples ending up conceiving an XXY child. It is commonly thought that this risk occurs at an advanced maternal age. It cannot be rectified and the only way out is to accept your condition or get a sexual reassignment surgery which most opt for. In spite of such a physical condition, these are some men who have made it really big in the world. They have earned name, fame and wealth in spite of their weaknesses.