Top fashion model, Hanne Gaby Odiele has revealed that she is intersex, saying that she hopes speaking out will help break a taboo.
The 29 year old model originally from Belgium was born with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), which causes girls to have
XY chromosomes usually found in boys. She had ‘undescended’ testicles, which were removed when she was 10 after doctors warned that they could cause cancer. Although she had additional surgery at 18 to reconstruct her vagina.
Intersex people are born with a mixture of male and female sex characteristics and according to the United Nations, the condition affects up to 1.7% of the world’s population.
“It is very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo. At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this.” She said.
“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 added.
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.