polycystic ovary sydrome

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Harnaam Kaur was 11 when she started growing a beard

The now 23-year-old teaching assistant from the U.K. suffers from polycystic ovary sydrome, a condition that can cause excessive hair growth. Middle school hallways aren’t the most accepting of places, so when her beard first appeared as a preteen Kaur was understandably distressed.

“The names that people would call me were things like ‘beardo’ instead of weirdo, 'sheman,’ 'shemale’,” she said in a video for Barcroft TV. She began waxing twice a week in order to better fit in with the other girls at her school, but the constant scrutiny wore her down. At one point in her teen years she even considered suicide.

But when Kaur turned 16, she was baptized as a Sikh. Following the tenets of her religion, she decided to let her hair grow freely. After briefly caving to pressure from her extended family and shaving the hair off one year later, Kaur vowed never to do so again. “When I’d done it, all I could do was cry because I didn’t feel like myself,” she said. “My brother … hugged me and said I had looked so beautiful with my beard, he didn’t understand why I had done it. It was from that point that I thought I’m never going to remove it ever again.”

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