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Hermaphrodite "I was born a boy but I grew into a woman naturally"

The age of 18, doctors revealed he was suffering the very rare Klinefelter's syndrome - a condition which means he was born with an extra female chromosome

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Charles play

Charles

From the age of 13, Charli Darling, knew he was different to other boys his age. Rather than enduring the embarrassment of his voice breaking, the teenager faced another, altogether more difficult change - he began to grow breasts.

His hips began to develop, taking on a more feminine silhouette, leaving him feeling like a freak. He hid his body under baggy clothes for the next five years, struggling to come to terms with the changes to his body.

But, at the age of 18, doctors revealed he was suffering the very rare Klinefelter's syndrome - a condition which means he was born with an extra female chromosome.

When he was born with male genitals, his parents named him Charles, and brought him up as a boy. But since embracing his new identity, and choosing to live as a woman, she now goes by the name of Charli.

At the age of 21, she felt obliged to undergo a breast reduction operation, to placate family members who were eager to hide her secret.

Charli said: 'I decided to undergo breast reduction surgery to please my family.

''I had met a hermaphrodite at 21 years old and that made me realise that I wasn't a freak and I could live as whichever sex I felt most comfortable as".

''After meeting such a strong-minded person who had both male and female organs I realised I could be confident like her". 'I was unique and shouldn't get rid of what I was naturally born with".

'I realised it was a privilege to be intersex not a curse, there was nothing wrong with me.'

She added: 'I definitely did not want to go ahead with the surgery but I was too scared to tell my parents that I wanted to be a woman".

Charli said: ''After surgery my breasts were gone but they still grew on the one side and very slowly on the other".

''It was devastating as the surgery took away a large part of me and dented my self-esteem as a woman".

''I've gone through a lot to get where I am now but I'm a proud, strong lady".

''When I look in the mirror now I see a beautiful woman who's gone through a gruesome journey, but thankfully I'm at the other end of it now and I'm happy".

A decade after her surgery in 2002, Charli has rebuilt her life.

Later this year she will compete in the Miss Transgender UK beauty pageant.

She wants to raise awareness of Klinefelter's syndrome to ensure no one else has to go through what she did.

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