ABOVE: Juleigh Amanda Mayfield speaks with the press outside the Osceola County Courthouse Jan. 15. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)
KISSIMMEE, Fla. | A Central Florida intersex woman asked an Osceola County judge for a gender marker change on her birth certificate Jan. 15.
Juleigh Amanda Mayfield was born 47XXY, meaning she has an additional chromosome attached to each pair of her chromosomes. This left Mayfield neither completely biologically male or female, but both. At birth, her parents began raising her as male.
“Information just wasn’t readily available in 1975,” Mayfield says. “XXY wasn’t even discovered until the early 1950s, so it’s safe to say doctors in Alabama in 1975 had no knowledge about it.”
At age 17, Mayfield moved to Orlando and was diagnosed with XXY. She was given testosterone and would take it for five years before she was advised by doctors to stop taking it due to health issues. For 20 years Mayfield was on no hormones. In 2018, again due to serious health-related issues, doctors told Mayfield she needed to be on copious amounts of estrogen. This is when Mayfield began her journey to becoming Juleigh.
“I travel a lot for work, as an actress and an advocate for the XXY community,” Mayfield says, “and I was traveling as Juleigh but showing up with James’ ID. I would have to give TSA a piece of paper that says ‘I’m in the process of transitioning, please don’t make an issue about it. My paperwork will all say male.’ That’s very scary because you don’t know how people are going to react.”
Dr. Irene Pons, an associate lecturer at the University of Central Florida and old friend of Mayfield since their days of working at Disney, and her class assisted Mayfield in getting her name change completed so that her ID reflected the correct name but they found that changing the gender marker is not as simple.
“I contacted Alabama to see what I had to do to change my birth certificate from male to female,” Mayfield says. “The person on the phone said, ‘You are going to have to prove to the state of Alabama that you had transitional surgery to get the gender change.’ I didn’t have to do that because I was born both.”
Pons and her class began the process of creating the documentation Mayfield would need to ask a Central Florida judge to grant an order for a gender change on all her legal documents, including her birth certificate.
“There’s not a gender change petition readily available online for the LGBTQ community in Florida, it just doesn’t exist,” Pons says. “We created the document from scratch. We looked at California, which is the most liberal state and has forms online, and we crafted language that we will take before the judge.”
Pons and Mayfield hoped that on Jan. 15, the judge would sign off on the request which, according to Pons, means Alabama should have to recognize it. However, the judge postponed his ruling, asking for a week to review the case including information on a similar case from Indiana Pons submitted to the courts.
“The Indiana case is specifically on point,” Pons said in front of the Osceola County Courthouse after the hearing. “I also have 109 cases to look through and I’m going to bolster her position as much as I can based on the authority that I find and then we wait for his decision.”
If granted, this would be the first case in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida where an intersex person is allowed a gender marker change to be applied to another state.
“It’s hard to understand that just a piece of paper weighs so heavy on everything we do and what so many people take for granted in society,” Mayfield says. “It’s not just about me getting my birth certificate, it’s about me sharing my story that in the end will hopefully foster better treatment and care for everybody in this situation.”
Pons has until Jan. 22 to submit the amended case at which time the judge will review and make a decision.