[Note: This may well have been Positive Liberty’s most widely read post.]
Snopes.com does yeoman’s work in debunking urban myths. So I decided to do some research on something I had heard which I was certain to be an urban legend. And what surprised me was that Snopes couldn’t give a definite “debunked,” but rather gave an “undetermined.” The “fact” in question is whether Jamie Lee Curtis was born with both male and female sex organs, something I’ve heard about for years but dismissed as an urban legend.
I previous thought this had to be wrong because she and her husband Christopher Guest had children, something intersexed people (who have an XY chromosome) cannot do. But apparently, her children are adopted.
Also, something Snopes discusses which I never before realized, but that gives credibility to the “story,” both “Jamie” and “Lee” are “two-way” gender names (indeed, I have a brother named “Jamie”). Her parents, unsure of her gender, named her that….
Finally, the funniest thing I can think of relating to this tale is: A number of years ago Howard Stern sent a female intern out to ask “Stuttering John” questions to various celebrities (this was while John was still with the show, but when Stern was sending other interns out to ask these questions). She came across Jamie Lee Curtis who was at some outing with a bunch of children. The intern prefaced the conversation with some “ordinary interview” questions, which seemed to mildly annoy Curtis who was giving very brief, perfunctory answers.
Then the intern, trying to contain her laughter, let loose with the big one (paraphrasing): “So clear up the rumors Jamie Lee, were you born with a penis?” And Curtis just flipped out. “How dare you ask me such a thing when children are around?” It was so funny! It was the type of thing you feel guilty about laughing over because you realize that it crossed the line of civility and decency.
[And in 2010, YouTube has a clip of the offending interview, not embedded in the original post: