Wow, this is such an incredible story. Top Belgian fashion model Hanne Gaby Odiele has revealed that she is intersex in an exclusive interview, in which she opens up in order to ‘break the taboo’ surrounding the uncommon case.
Hanne Gaby Odiele, 29, bravely opened up in an exclusive USA Today interview about being born intersex. She is one of the first public figures to open up about being intersex and her experience learning about her body.
The top model was born with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which caused her to have some XY chromosomes, instead of all XX female chromosomes. This has caused Hanne to undergo a number of surgeries throughout her lifetime, including an operation at the age of 10 to remove a pair of undescended testes. Sadly, Hanne was not informed of why she had the surgery until a few years after the fact. It is for this reason, among many others, that she has chosen to speak out.
“If they were just honest from the beginning… It became a trauma because of what they did,” Hanne said of her parents’ choice to leave her uninformed about her surgery. The early surgery to removed the testes, which doctors told Hanne’s parents left her at a high cancer risk, led to more health problems. Hanne didn’t get her period and and knew that because of the surgery she had no say in, she wouldn’t be able to have children. At 18 years old, she had another surgery to reconstruct her vagina.
“Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth, says Odiele will be a powerful champion for the intersex community and will help thrust medical procedures that try to ‘fix’ intersex kids into the harsh focus they deserve,” reported USA Today. Kimberly refers to the notion that parents of intersex children often have their children’s partially formed sex organs removed without the consent or knowledge of the child. “There is tremendous resentment of parents, she says. Kids think ‘something was done to me; you felt I wasn’t perfect; I had to be fixed,'”
According the the United Nations, only 1.7 percent of people are born intersex — a statistic roughly equivalent to the number of redheads.
“It is very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo,” Hanne said. The Belgian-born supermodel began her career in 2006 when she was discovered at a music festival. However, it was put on hold when she was slammed by a car in NYC and suffered from two broken legs and a number of fractures. After taking ten months to get back on her feet, Hanne fought her way back to the catwalk. Now, she is taking on a new challenge — normalizing intersex.
Her husband, fellow model John Swiatek, is supportive of Hanne and told the outlet, “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.” Aw!
We commend Hanne for her bravery and strength! HollywoodLifers, what do you think about Hanne Gaby Odiele revealing she is intersex? Let us know!