Many people didn't even know that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps had a girlfriend. In a recent Facebook post, the reported girlfriend of the Olympic swimmer, Taylor Lianne Chandler, revealed she was born intersex and assigned male at birth, given the name David Roy Fitch. Since then, Chandler wrote on her Facebook page, she's been on a journey to become her true self, taking testosterone blockers and estrogen enhancers and undergoing corrective surgery.
Chandler writes that exposing this truth about herself could come at the expense of her relationship with Phelps, which she describes as a "teenage love affair," but didn't want to hide behind it anymore either. And for that we commend her — it's never easy to admit something knowing full well that society might not accept you for it.
Many of you have wondered why I was so freaked out about my relationship with Michael Phelps being exposed. Most of you were very complimentary to me how I was described in some of the first articles. A lot of you had problems with the photos of me that came out. Here is the truth. I knew that if him and I were photographed or seen together the media would want to know who I am. That is why I kept it so guarded. To him I said it was because I grew up with a famous father. The truth is I have been living with secrets my whole life.
I was born intersex and named David Roy Fitch at birth. By the time I could walk and talk I made it clear I was a girl and dressed as one. In my early teens I was medically diagnosed and went on testosterone blockers, at 15 estrogen enhancers. My birth certificate was modified along with my name while I was a teenager, prior to any corrective surgery. I originally changed my name to Paige Victoria Whitney. At 16 I legally emancipated from my family. I had already left home at 15. At 18 I got in trouble twice, once for a bad check and then a DUI. At 19 I thought it would be smart to blackmail someone into giving me the money for my surgery. As soon as I received the money I was arrested and charged with extortion. I spent 30 days in jail because I was too ashamed to tell my family what happened thinking no one knew. Even though my birth certificate and drivers license said female they put me in a cell with 3 men and I was raped. I sued the state of Maine and got them to provide training for staff to deal with people on different spectrums of gender. They even created new facilities for housing someone with special needs. I plead and got probation for two years. I went on the talk show and tabloid TV circuit pleading my case for gender rights. After a brutal rape and a horrible trial in 1993 I went away to get my surgery and changed my name to Taylor Lianne Whitney to escape back into anonymity and have a normal life. For the last 20 plus years that is exactly what I have done. The problem is I have made friends that I never told and dated and married people that knew nothing of my past. If you don’t understand what intersex is, Google it. I was never a man, never lived as a man. No one can say they knew me as a man or produce a photo of me as a man. There are people that remember me as an androgynous child at times because of what was forced upon me. I have dated many celebrities before, none of which knew my past. Michael Phelps and I met on Tinder and clicked. Spending time with him was like a teenage love affair. I have never felt so comfortable and accepted in every way as I did with him. I didn’t tell him about my past until threat of the media exposing me forced me too.
Yes, I was with Michael the night of the DUI, the story of the Uber and crying and me wanting to stay with him that night are true. A lot of the other things printed are lies. I am probably going to lose him because he is a brand that his team wants to protect and things since he went to rehab came to my attention that didn’t put him or our relationship in the best light. He is the first man I ever had intimacy with and felt comfortable and all woman. When he went to rehab I had to go through all this scrutiny and tabloid mess by myself. His team at Octagon abandoned me, whether he knows that or not I do not know. Other then telling people I couldn’t have kids I never felt obligated to disclose any part of my past. The only reason this is news is because I was with Michael Phelps. I am Taylor Lianne Chandler; I have always been a female regardless of labels and personal opinions. I am not a transsexual and I have never identified with the moniker transgender, but intersex is certainly on the spectrum of gender along with them. I am telling my story to take the power away from the media and tabloids that want to hurt Michael and I. I will probably lose him, which hurts like hell. I might lose some of you as friends and I will have to accept that. To the men in my past, what you saw, whom you loved, is who I am regardless of labels that the media tries to throw on my back. I am sorry for not trusting and loving you enough to tell you upfront myself at the time.
Some outlets are describing Chandler as being "born a man," which is inaccurate; in the Facebook post, Chandler describes herself as being aware she was a woman from birth.
Images: Taylor Lianne Chandler/Facebook