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Dear Urban Legends: I've heard from a few places that Jamie Lee Curtis is genetically male.

I know it is genetically possible for something like this to happen — Ms.

The story goes that she had (at birth) both female and male sexual characteristics.I was unconvinced by this tale, but my colleague (not one to exaggerate) insisted that it was common knowledge in the medical community. * * *Dear Urban Legends: Is it true Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite? Dear Readers: Celebrities are always telling us that fame has its downsides, lurid gossip being one of them, and few could make a better case than actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who for two decades has been saddled with rumors that she was a hermaphrodite at birth (or, as it has been more crudely put, "born with a penis").This has never been proven, mind you, but most folks seem satisfied with the argument that the info was passed along by a friend of a friend who happens to know a doctor who was told about it once in medical school, so it , the name given to the son of the ancient Greek gods Hermes and Aphrodite.According to mythology, Hermaphroditus was so loved by the nymph Salmacis that she prayed they could be united as one person — and literally got her wish.) for a set of conditions characterized mainly by genitalia which are either "ambiguous" (i.e., not clearly male or female) or at odds with the subject's chromosomal gender.

Depending on the specific symptoms, hermaphroditism/intersexuality may be the result of a genetic anomaly or a hormonal excess or deficiency during gestation.

It has been estimated that as many as 1 in 2,000 children born in the United States are diagnosed with ambiguous external genitalia, of whom a very small percentage undergo "sex reassignment" surgery in infancy.

The specific condition most often attributed to Ms. People born with AIS are genetically male (defined as having one X and one Y chromosome) but are resistant to androgens, the hormones responsible for male sexual development.

As a result, they display female physical characteristics despite being genetically male.

"In its classic form (complete androgen resistance), the person appears to be female but has no uterus, and has sparse armpit and pubic hair," states the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia.

"At puberty, female secondary sex characteristics (e.g., breasts) develop, but menstruation and fertility do not."It bears pointing out that Ms.