A top fashion model, Hanne Gaby Odiele has disclosed that she is intersex, saying that she hopes speaking out will break a taboo.
Hanne Gaby Odiele, 29, was born with undescended testicles, which were removed at the age of 10 after doctors warned her that they could cause cancer.
Originally from Belgium, Ms Odiele was born with androgen insenstivity syndrome (AIS).
Intersex people are born with a mixture of male and female sex characteristics.
“It is very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo,” she told in an interview.”At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this.”
“I knew at one point after the surgery I could not have kids, I was not having my period. I knew something was wrong with me,” she said.
She had one more surgery at 18 to remodel her vagina.
But she said the procedures caused her distress and she wanted to speak out in part to discourage other parents from putting their children through perhaps unnecessary surgery.
“It’s not that big of a deal being intersex, If they were just honest from the beginning… It became a trauma because of what they did.” she said.
John Swiatek, Ms Odiele’s husband, also a model told he was “incredibly proud” of his wife for speaking out.
“I am very impressed with her decision to advocate for intersex children in order to give them an opportunity to make up their own minds about their bodies, unlike the lack of options and information Hanne and her family (and many others) were given,” he said.
The fashion magazine Vogue praised her decision to go public about her condition and became spokesperson and advocate for intersex community as “an act of enourmous courage”
“Odiele is exploring uncharted territory, it is impossible to identify even one well-known person in any field who is openly intersex.” it commented.