Denver photographer Steve Crecelius said he’s felt a little different all his life.
“When I was about 6 years old, I started having these feminine feelings, but that was in the ’60s. Wearing my mom’s makeup, I thought I looked pretty,” Crecelius told ABC News.
So when he went to the emergency room five years ago, he wasn’t too shocked when the nurse told him she found traits of both genders in his ultrasound results.
He was intersex, meaning he had both male genitalia and internal female sex organs.
“The nurse is reading the ultrasound and says, ‘Huh, this says you’re a female,’ Crecelius said. “It was very liberating. I had spent so much energy after the age of 13 constantly evaluating how people looked at me and acted towards me.”
Steve, who now goes by “Stevie,” said his wife and their six children accepted his new identity right away.
“We told them individually. Some were in person and some weren’t,” Crecelius said. “Every one of them said, ‘We don’t care one way or the other. We love you for who you are and you’re still my dad.’”
Crecelius and his wife, Debbie, have been together for 25 years and she’s supported him every step of the way, including taking him to buy his first bra.
She told Crecelius, “You know, when I first saw you, I said to myself, ’He runs like a girl.’”
“I think we were pretty good when she began to mourn the loss of her husband,” Crecelius said. “We worked through what we needed to. The concept of unconditional love is a larger story.”
Intersex is a term used to describe people who bear both external genitals and internal organs, such as testes and ovaries.
A person with the condition may have male genitals along with fallopian tubes and ovaries.
“The condition used to be called hermaphroditism, meaning that person can’t be identified as male or female,” Crecelius said.
According to the Intersex Society of North America, more than 1,500 children a year are born intersex.
For Crecelius, he hopes he can be an advocate for those born intersex and same-sex couples.
“I think of bullying, because I haven’t heard anyone talk about this. It’s important to talk about,” Crecelius said. “People need to be accepting and understand. I was born this way, and loving each other and supporting each other will always be the main factor in our household.”