Anger doesn’t live under Darlene Harris’ skin anymore... It’s melting away — the same way bad memories do — along with the confusion she has carried from a rocky childhood in New York City’s housing projects to her life as an Atlanta police officer. She now knows why her voice is so deep, why she’s always been attracted to women, why she can grow a full beard.
Officer Darlene Harris, of the Atlanta Police Department, is intersex.
Intersex people are born with chromosomal anomalies or ambiguous genitalia. The medical term "hermaphrodite" has been used, but is not accepted by many intersex people. Medical professionals commonly assign a male or female gender to the individual and proceed to perform gender assignment surgeries beginning in infancy and often continuing into adolescence, before a child is able to give informed consent. Read more about intersexuality here. And read Officer Harris' story in The Atlanta Constitution-Journal.
For Officer Harris, discovering her intersexuality was the lifting of a great burden of misunderstanding about herself. “It was like, ‘OK, I’m not crazy,’ All of these things came together full circle at that moment. I now understood the reason why I am the way I am... It’s freedom, total freedom. It’s like I can fly.”
For further research and resource for and about the intersex community, be sure to check out the Intersex Society of North America.