Bronx, New York – A 24-year-old woman named Alma Torres was diagnosed with a hormonal condition when she was just 16. Despite harassment from strangers online and on the streets, people calling her names and giving her cruel thoughts like “she should just kill herself”, she managed to push through and go on with life, smiling, with a loving boyfriend who supports her.
Alma’s medical condition, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, causes irregular periods and abnormal increases in male hormone levels; prompting excess hair growth.
Symptoms include weight gain and infertility, and in later stages, it is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
Alma claims she has also suffered from severe abdominal pain, ovary pain, fatigue, as well as depression and anxiety.
Alma, who works as a photographer, is supported by two years younger Taylor; her boyfriend of five years. She told Taylor about her condition when they started dating. He used to help her pluck out any facial hair.
All those years she hides her condition by shaving and tweezing, until August last year, when she decided to put down the razor and let her beard grow without shame.
When Alma asked her boyfriend if he would mind having a bearded girlfriend, Taylor said: “It’s just hair. That’s normal.”
According to his statement in a report by The Sun, he said “I wouldn’t know what to say about PCOS but I know my girlfriend has it and it’s a struggle everyday but she pushes through.”
“She’s still beautiful to me and her beard doesn’t define her. It’s just hair and it doesn’t have anything to do with how a person feels and should never be able to change that.”
“It’s what is inside that matters. It’s something that’s natural and there’s nothing wrong with that,” he added.
However, infertility is the other side effect which is something that Alma and Taylor have been able to push through with their relationship.
Together, they remain hopeful that one day they will be parents.
Alma said: “The infertility is difficult but me and Taylor have spoken about it. Hopefully God will give us our miracle one day. We can’t give up just yet.”
Now, Alma is proud of her beard and is encouraging other sufferers to be confident of themselves.
As per a Mirror story, Alma said: “I have been called ugly, others have said I should kill myself. People have told me ‘go wax your ugly a**’ and have called me cancer.”
“I’ve noticed people trying to take pictures of me but I just laugh and smile. I know it’s not a big deal so I’m okay with it.”
“I think everybody has their own insecurities and when they don’t feel good about themselves they try to hurt other people to try to make themselves feel better,” she continued with her statement.
“I have helped a lot of people feel good about themselves, we need more girl power.”
“I know how other women feel and I just want them to know that I’m there for them and that you can be who you are and you can be beautiful.”
Alma wants to tell other PCOS sufferers that it is who they are, and that they may choose to stay as it is or may change it if they feel uncomfortable with it.
As for herself, she said “I don’t want to change. Maybe here and there I will but I’m happy with the way I am.”