ORLANDO, Florida, March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Prof. Annarita Franza and Prof. Vincenzo Lusa have identified a previously unknown variation of sex development disorder (DSD). This identification was made possible by the discovery of an unusual divorce trial held in 19th-century Florence. The identification is based on the morpho-anatomical comparison between Maria Rosa Fantini's pelvic region and the clinical features of the most common disorders of sex development (DSD), such as Klinefelter Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, as well as Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. "The comparison did not show sufficient anatomical data to include Maria Rosa's case in one of the human malformations that we currently know," says Lusa, anthropologist and professor of Criminal Law "The psychology of the case then shows how Maria Rosa was able to define her true sexual identity."
Franza and Lusa were invited to give a seminar on Maria Rosa's case at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences' 67th Annual Meeting, held in Orlando (Fl) in this past February. With over 7000 members, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences is the most important international institution for the study of forensic sciences. During the seminar, Franza and Lusa's scientific discovery was presented together with the unpublished court records, reports and the findings of the proceedings. On 13 February 1818, Dionisio degli Innocenti filed a suit against his wife Maria Rosa Fantini to dissolve their marriage. On the basis of the anatomical data collected by Vincenzo Chiarugi, who had been selected as the medico-legal expert, the marriage was dissolved on 13 May 1818.
On 9 February 1839 Maria Rosa was taken to Florence's Santa Maria Nuova Hospital and given the masculinized name of Roso. On her deathbed she blamed her state of moral prostration on facing the end of her life, in her words, "in the midst of the confusion of the opposite sex." Maria Rosa then stated: "My name is Rosa, I have been and am a woman and I am surprised at how these gentlemen want me to die here, among men." Franza says, "This is a rare and interesting historic document. It shows Maria Rosa's natural inclination to determine her self-concept despite gender roles and social perceptions."
Maria Rosa Fantini is a unique case in the world and has opened unexpected scientific perspectives. At the same time, her life helps to reconsider the perception that each individual has of oneself.
SOURCE American Academy of Forensic Sciences