Michael Phelps’ reported girlfriend Taylor Lianne Chandler wrote an emotional Facebook post on November 13 about being born intersex. Of course, that wasn’t what was reported in the news. Several publications picked up the story this week and published it along with the headline: “Michael Phelps Girlfriend Was Born A MAN?!”
The confusion may come from ignorance or it may come from hatred. Regardless, Chandler was not born a man. She was born intersex.
Here’s the definition of of intersex from the Intersex Society of North America:
“A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types.”
Parents of intersex children often choose to raise their child as a boy or a girl. In Chandler’s case, her parents decided to raise her as a boy. A few years later, however, it was clear that she was a girl.
Chandler writes: “I was born intersex and named David Roy Fitch at birth. By the time I could walk and talk I made it clear I was a girl and dressed as one. In my early teens I was medically diagnosed and went on testosterone blockers, at 15 estrogen enhancers. My birth certificate was modified along with my name while I was a teenager, prior to any corrective surgery. I originally changed my name to Paige Victoria Whitney.”
Chandler said that she never told Phelps about her past and that she hasn’t talked to him since he went to rehab.
Chandler added:: “I was never a man, never lived as a man. No one can say they knew me as a man or produce a photo of me as a man … I have dated many celebrities before, none of which knew my past. Michael Phelps and I met on Tinder and clicked. Spending time with him was like a teenage love affair. I have never felt so comfortable and accepted in every way as I did with him. I didn’t tell him about my past until threat of the media exposing me forced me too.”
Many people have accused Taylor Lianne Chandler of being a liar and that she is only telling her story to get her fifteen minutes of fame. Others don’t believe that Chandler ever dated Michael Phelps. We don’t know if Chandler’s story is 100% true.
Her story hasn’t been verified and it’s hard to trust information that only has one source. Regardless of whether or not it’s true, it should be noted that being born intersex is not the same as being born a man. (There’s also nothing wrong with being born a man. But that’s an issue for another story.)
Chandler wrote on Facebook: “Two steps forward and 100 steps backwards. That is what life feels like to me right now. In a world of educated people that had all the facts of intersex and what it means and then to sell a magazine say Michael Phelps is dating a MAN. I have cried now for an hour, thrown up anything in my system till I dry heaved. I just can’t believe this is happening in 2014!”