The Dominican Republic is most famous for its serene, beautiful sea beaches and delectable sea food. But of late, the Caribbean nation is in the news for a reason that can best be termed as bewildering and mind-boggling.
Las Salinas, a little-known village of the Dominican Republic has acquired an eerie, or rather say the creepy reputation of transforming adolescent girls into boys as they start growing male genitalia – the penis, when they hit puberty.
Yes, it is true! As many as 90 girls have grown a penis and become boys in this village.
Actually, the affected girls who transformed into boys have been born with a rare genetic disorder which results in the natural transformation from female to male which is referred to as guevedoces, meaning ‘penis at 12’.
One of the youngsters affected by the condition told BBC that he was brought up as a girl but never really liked wearing clothes for girls and just wanted to play with boys.
That one disorder can change the gender of a person sounds crazy and unimaginable, but it is a reality in this lesser known part of the world. The condition is caused by a missing enzyme that leads to the production of male sex hormone in the womb and this makes the new born child appear as a girl at the time of birth.
As testosterone levels start rising at the time of reaching puberty, they transmute and grow a penis when they are 12. Guevedoces was first studied in the 1970s by Dr Julianne Imperato when she visited the village.
The occurrence might be unheard of but is not so rare in Las Salinas.