Katie and her mom, Arlene

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Katie says the secrecy around intersex adds up to a shameful burden on parents and children—but it doesn't need to be that way. "When I came back from the hospital ... that's when they started to tell me a little bit [about my condition], which was one of the best decisions they ever made. They decided right away they weren't going to keep it secret from me."

"We disclosed things to her that were age appropriate," Katie's mom, Arlene, says. "For example, to a 6-year-old, you can talk about having babies grow in your tummy, ... but some people have a family adopting babies. And we stressed those sorts of things. And as time went on, we told her more and more about it."