Super Model to Role Model for Intersex Human Rights Advocate Hanne Gaby Odiele

From super model to role model, Belgian fashion icon Hanne Gaby Odiele reveals she was born intersex and advocates for intersex human rights.

She has one of the most visible jobs in the world but has lived her life in the shadows. But not any more, says Belgian super model Hanne Gaby Odiele who wants to break the silence surrounding people born intersex: “I am finally at this point very comfortable with myself, comfortable in my life right now. I got married last summer, and I am finally ready to talk about it.”

The model, known for her work with top designers such as Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger was born with a pair of xy chromosomes and had internal, undescended testes that were unnecessarily removed when she was just 10 years old.

As a result she is unable to have children and has to be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of her life. “I wish I had the choice, I wish I had the choice.”

According to intersex advocacy group interACT, these unconsented surgeries have traumatizing effects similar to PTSD.

Odiele hopes that they stop in the future and wants to spread a positive message.

“You can love, you can dance, you can be loved, which is very important. A lot of intersex kids have that fear of ‘I will never be loved.’ But you can.”

As the new face for interACT the supermodel now hopes to become a role model for intersex youth letting them know that they are not alone. – Elly Park, REUTERS