Pathologist Dr. Stephen King has confirmed that homicide victim Yulanda ‘Jordan’ Frederick, whose gender has been the source of much public debate over the years, is in fact a male with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), a rare condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty.
Dr. King performed Frederick’s post mortem examination on Thursday, July 3. Police said Frederick, 35, of La Clery, Castries, sustained multiple gunshot wounds in Leslie Land, Castries on Tuesday, July 1 at about 8:15 p.m.
Frederick had been referred to as a female in recent police and media reports.
In an exclusive interview with St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Saturday, July 5, Dr. King explained: “Mr. Frederick is a male and I say so because having done the examination I’ve found out that…. he has no female internal organs. He has testicular tissue, no ovarian tissue.
“What he suffered with was androgen insensitivity syndrome which means that when he was being developed … as a fetus, there was a lack of or a deformed androgen receptor in the genital tissue so what that means is that those tissues, during development, did not respond as they were supposed to, to the androgen stimulation so they didn’t form into fully-formed male organs which is why he had the type of external genitalia he had, which was somewhat ambiguous, which created the confusion throughout his life where people debated whether he is a female looking like a male or hermaphrodite… A true hermaphrodite … has both ovarian and testicular tissue. Yulanda Frederick only had testicular tissue.”
The pathologist said based on the look of Frederick’s deformed genitals, persons – even Frederick himself – may have been confused with his gender. He said on first glance, Fredrick’s genitals resemble that of a female with a large clitoris, but in reality it is a small penis with a small ‘vaginal pit’ – so small that it would have been impossible to insert a small penis in it.
“It looks like a small penis and a very normal type of vagina but actually he did not have a fully formed vagina. There is no upper vagina, there is just a lower ‘vagina’ so it’s almost like a blank pit with no cervix and uterus thereafter…” he explained.
Dr. King said Frederick may have been able to have a “certain amount of sex” with his penis. He said “biologically and physiologically” it is possible.
With proper medical diagnosis and surgery, doctors would have been able to close the very small opening on Frederick’s genitals and create testicular sacks.
Dr. King said there is no way Frederick could have been impregnated because he had no cervix, ovaries or uterus.
Frederick was born on December 24, 1978 to Isidora Harrison and Francis Frederick. His mother is currently based in New York and his father lives in Anse La Raye.
Frederick attended Vide Bouteille Primary School and the Corinth Secondary School. During those years, he was dressed as a female.
In adulthood, he was well known to the police. He was charged for murder, attempted murder and firearm-related offences in 2010 but released earlier this year after the charges were dropped.
While in prison his gender was a matter of much debate as the authorities pondered whether to incarcerate him longer term in the male or female prison. At one point, he was separated from the male and female prison population.
The confusion over his gender have earned him much ridicule and rejection from society, according to his relatives and close friends. It is alleged that Frederick’s application for a passport was unsuccessful because his gender was not clear. Relatives say Frederick’s intention was to leave the island for better opportunities, and to also leave the criminal lifestyle.
Dr. King believes that Frederick’s criminal activity may have been fueled by the harsh treatment from some persons in society based on the confusion over his gender. The pathologist however made it very clear that he is not trying to find an excuse for Frederick’s alleged criminal activity.
“It is possible that a lot of frustration and anger in people can manifest in a variety of ways. Violence and aggression is one of them,” Dr. King said, noting that a psychiatrist would be better able to explain.
“It is quite plausible and it is quite likely that this did effect the way he behaved…. But we don’t make excuses for people’s behaviour, but I mean we do have to understand people’s behaviour so hopefully in the future we can learn our lessons,” he added.
Dr. King said it was possible that Frederick was given improper medical advice concerning his condition which led to the misinformation and eventual public scorn and ridicule. Dr. King added that with proper medical/psychological support from childhood, Frederick, his parents or guardians would not have appeared confused about his gender.
“And it shows that it is good for us to get appropriate medical advice, the good medical and proper work up so we can really support people who find themselves in these situations of what we call intersex, where there is confusion about their actual sexuality or their gender because of ambiguous genitalia.
“And it is important we get it right, not only because there is medical and surgical treatment we can do, but critical in their psychological treatment what we can do to help them to deal with their situation…. Understand it, deal with it and of course try to help them live as normal a life as they can,” he further explained.
Frederick’s post mortem revealed that he died from hemorrhagic shock secondary to gunshot wounds. Police sources say Frederick was shot about 15 times, including twice in the head.
According to sources, two guns were used in the killing. Investigations into the incident continues.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. King conducted the interview with St. Lucia News Online after getting consent to do so from relatives of Frederick.