Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gender Confusion Lands Suspect in Women’s Prison

Alterina Hofan with his wife, Jane Deviyant. He has been arrested for allegedly falsifying his birth certificate, with prosecutors saying he was born a woman. He is being detained at a women’s prison. (JG Photo/Zaky Pawas)

Although Alterina Hofan says he is a man, authorities think otherwise and have detained him at Pondok Bambu Women’s Penitentiary for allegedly falsifying his personal data.

Alter, as the 32-year-old is also known, said he was born a boy but because his male genitalia did not develop properly when he was a baby, his mother decided to registered him as female, even dressing and treating him as a girl. However, he says he grew up thinking he was a boy.

Only when he was in his teens did his penis finally develop, Alter added.

Doctors at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta, Alter said, had diagnosed him as suffering from Klinefelter’s syndrome, a sex chromosome disorder which reduces testicular hormone production and can result in abnormally small testes and underdeveloped genitalia.

Alter was reported to the police by the mother of Jane Deviyant, 23, a deaf girl he had married in Las Vegas in September 2008. The woman’s mother, who was a friend of Alter’s, believed he was a woman, not a man.

Alter said he had always felt he was a boy growing up, adding that when he was in elementary school, he would always ask to wear trousers and not skirts.

Alder said he was physiologically a man and could perform sexually as such. “Just ask my wife,” he said.

But law enforcers beg to differ, arguing that the results of a lab examination had showed that he was a woman.

Sugiyono, assistant for general crimes at the Jakarta prosecutors’ office, said that although Pondok Bambu initially declined to accept Alter because he appeared to be a man, its warden relented after being given an explanation by prosecutors.
“The rejection was because of misinformation,” Sugiono said, “she is really a woman.”

Mother-in-law Maria Grace, who opposed the marriage, reported Alter to the police in October for falsifying personal data on his birth certificate. Alter said it had been unofficially altered by his mother to rectify the initial mistake.

Sugiyono said the indictment had been forwarded to the South Jakarta District Court and a trial was imminent.

Alter said that as a result of his chromosome disorder, he had grown breasts. “My breasts grew but not big,” he said, adding that he had them surgically removed in Canada in 2006.

“Jane knows that I have undergone breast reconstruction,” he said.

The couple was introduced by Grace in Singapore, where Jane was visiting during holidays from her business administration studies in the United States. Despite Grace’s objections, Jane and Alter met in secret and, eventually, also married in secret.

When Jane finished her studies and returned home, however, Grace found out about the marriage and forbade her to contact Alter. In the end, Jane left her mother to join her husband.

Grace had initially reported Alter to the police for allegedly abducting Jane, but the investigation was later dropped because Jane said she had gone with him willingly.

Jane said she could not accept being separated from her husband. Although Alter was not detained during the police investigation, he was taken into custody on Thursday once his indictment was filed with the court.

“If he is detained I want to be detained with him,” Jane said.

“I am really happy. Please, mother and father, do not separate us. I know what I want.”

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