Woman Born A Hermaphrodite Fights For Right To Marry Girlfriend
Update: Hermaphrodite Sabrina Hill and her girlfriend Therese Bur are now married.
They tied the knot in San Antonio on Monday.
Hill was born a hermaphrodite but is now legally a woman. However, her original birth certificate says she's a male. And because of a court ruling in Bexar County, that's all she needs to marry another woman.
El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal had asked the Texas attorney general for an opinion on whether to marry Hill and Tee in El Paso. The County Attorney's Office says they'll still want that opinion for future reference.
The couple live in a modest home in the desert of West Texas.
Original Story Posted Online April 29, 2010 Nestled on an almost-infinite plain in West Texas is a modest home where two women live.
Their voices intertwine as they sing Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" under a vast sky with clouds rolling in from a distance.
They each say they'd give the other the last can of beans if that was all the food they had left. A gentle squeeze of the hand as they tell their love story reveals their connection to each other.
"In the 15 years that we've been together, I've come to love her more everyday," Sabrina Hill said of her girlfriend Therese "Tee" Bur.
While their love is simple, their marriage aspirations are much more complicated.
"It doesn't matter what my name is now, or what somebody did with surgical wizardry," Hill said from their home in the middle of nowhere in Hudspeth County. "By their law, for the purposes of marriage, I'm a guy and she's a girl and we should be able to get married."
Sabrina is a man - at least according to her original birth certificate. She was born a hermaphrodite - or intersex - but at the request of her parents in 1950, a doctor sewed up her female genitalia and she grew up a boy.
But when she was 28, a doctor made a discovery during an ultrasound exam.
"He's checking around the gallstones, and then he drops a little lower. 'Oh, dear. Oh, my!', Hill said of the doctor's reaction.
The ultrasound showed Sabrina's ovaries. She underwent years of psychiatric evaluations and hormone therapy, all the while, rejecting her male traits.
"I got tired of looking at something that shouldn't have been there," Hill said. "I was revolted every time I took a shower or changed my clothes. There were times that I almost did pick up a meat cleaver."
Instead, she went to a doctor in Mexico nicknamed "the butcher" to clandestinely get rid of her unwanted appendage.
But that didn't fix everything.
With her female genitalia sewn up as a baby and now her male genitalia chopped off, Sabrina was left with no sex organs at all.
Sex is not a part of their relationship and these soulmates are fine with that.
"There's such a deep love between us, it is incredible," Hill said. "It's not a sexual relationship. We sleep together, we cuddle, but that's it."
Hill, a disabled Vietnam veteran, wants to do everything she can to provide for her girlfriend who has no medical insurance. Marriage, aside from a declaration of their love, would be a way she could do that.
According to a court ruling out of Bexar County, when it comes to marriage, your gender is determined by your original birth certificate. That decision was made by then-state Judge Frank Montalvo. He is now a federal judge in El Paso.
Montalvo did not grant ABC-7 an interview for this story.
By the precedent set by Littleton Vs. Prange, Hill is a man.
The issue now is if El Paso County should go by the gender on her driver's license or the gender on her birth certificate when processing her marriage application.
"I wish there were four choices when it came to gender - male, female, both and neither," Hill said. "And I would check both."
County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal last week requested an opinion from the Texas attorney general on Hill's case.
Hill is not only battling for her love, but also for others who would benefit from a ruling in her favor.
"If war must start, let it start here, let it start now," Hill said. "I don't care what it costs me personally. I don't care what it costs me financially. This has got to stop now. It's not just me. There's sisters behind me that don't have the gumption that I've got and I have to fight for them, too."
The Texas attorney general has no deadline to answer the county attorney's request, but ABC-7 has been told it usually takes four to six months.
Hill said she and Tee plan on traveling to Bexar County to get married.
"She's just my best friend," Hill said.
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