Conjoined Twin Who Came Out As Transgender Confesses He ‘Kept Desire Hidden’ From Sister For Decades

Conjoined twin George Schappell has revealed he kept his true gender hidden from his sister for 46 years.
Credit: Alamy

Conjoined twin George Schappell has revealed he kept his true gender hidden from his sister for 46 years.

Conjoined twins occur when ‘an early embryo only partially separates to form two individuals’, as explained by Mayo Clinic.

This results in physical connection, typically in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis, and sometimes sharing internal organs.

Recently, two conjoined twins have gone viral after discussing their unique lifestyle in a resurfaced interview.

One of the twins has confessed they managed to keep their true gender a secret from their sister for over forty years…

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Hailing from Pennsylvania, USA, Lori and George Schappell, aged 62, hold the title of the oldest living conjoined twins globally.

Despite being joined at the head, they have successfully pursued separate lives.

They share 30% of their frontal lobe brain tissue and crucial blood vessels, a rare condition known as craniopagus twinning.

Per the Guinness World Records: “They are craniopagus twins, which means they have partially fused skulls, sharing vital blood vessels and 30% of their brain (the frontal lobe and parietal lobe). This is the rarest form of conjoined twinning, representing only 2-6% of cases.”

Lori and George Schappell.
Conjoined twin George Schappell hid his true gender from his sister for decades. Credit: True Lives via YouTube

While Lori is 5ft 1in and able-bodied, George, who is 4ft 4in, suffers from spina bifida, rendering him unable to walk.

Lori assists George by pushing a wheelchair-like stool to facilitate their mobility.

“Would we be separated? Absolutely not,” George said in a 1997 documentary. “My theory is: why fix what is not broken?”

Despite facing challenges, including Lori’s tragic loss of her fiancé in a car accident, the twins have persevered.

She admitted to The Sun that her fiancé’s death was ‘devastating’ and that she has only just started dating again.

“George looked after me. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I could have lived through the heartbreak,” she added.

The twins have overcome initial institutionalisation, pursued education, and even won a legal battle for Lori to attend secretarial college.

Their individual pursuits include Lori working in a hospital laundry room while George enjoys reading and listening to music.

They also engage in separate activities, with Lori excelling in ten-pin bowling and George pursuing a career as a country and western singer.

They explain how they ‘zone out’ during the other one’s time pursuing their hobbies, managing to read or listen to music in the background.

Lori and George Schappell.
The siblings are craniopagus twins, meaning they have partially fused skulls. Credit: Alamy

The twins have humorously highlighted the quirks of their condition, such as experiencing separate physical responses to alcohol and washing separately.

George laughed: “It’s the little things that intrigue people the most.

“I don’t drink but Lori loves a vodka and orange occasionally. She can feel terrible with a hangover and I’ll feel absolutely fine as our bodies are completely separate.”

They’ve also explained that they usually wash separately, with one standing outside of the tub protected by a shower curtain.

“We don’t always get a shower at the same time; in fact, hardly ever,” Lori revealed to Guinness World Records.

Regarding dating and intimacy, Lori lost her virginity at 23 and aspires to have a family.

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George respects Lori’s privacy during her romantic encounters, bringing books along to read during her dates.

Lori said: “When I went on dates, George would bring along books to read and, as we don’t face each other, he could ignore any kissing.

“I don’t see why being a conjoined twin should stop me having a love life and feeling like a woman.”

Despite their unique circumstances, Lori remains determined to lead a fulfilling romantic life.

In the 1997 documentary interview for Our Life, she commented: “I would love to have myself a family – a husband and children of mine.”

George added: “Well, he [Lori’s future husband] would be like a brother-in-law to me that is it.

“They can do whatever they do and I’ll act like I’m not even there. I would block out.”

Lori and George Schappell.
George revealed his true gender to his sister in 2007. Credit: True Lives via YouTube

The twins, formerly known as Lori and Dori, underwent a significant transition when Dori revealed he identified as male in 2007, adopting the name George.

This made them the first same-sex conjoined twins to identify with different genders.

In an interview with The Sun, George says he always knew the truth about his gender.

“I have known from a very young age that I should have been a boy,” George admits. “I loved playing with trains and hated girly outfits. I kept my desire to change sex hidden – even from Lori – for many years.”

He also reveals how he came out to his sister.

“It was so tough, but I was getting older and I simply didn’t want to live a lie. I knew I had to live my life the way I wanted,” he says.

Lori remains in full support of her brother, adding: “Obviously it was a shock when Dori changed to George, but I am so proud of him.

“It was a huge decision but we have overcome so much in our lives and together we are such a strong team. Nothing can break that.”

Lori concludes: “When we were born, the doctors didn’t think we’d make 30, but we proved them wrong.

“We have learned so much in the last 50 years and will continue living life to the full.”

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.