27 Enero 2017 15:15
Odiele is a woman, but she was born with testicles. Now, she's speaking out for the first time.
We're born boys or we're born girls, we have a penis or a vagina, we're XX or XY.
We've been told thousands of times that 'not everything is black and white, there are also greys'. But in the male-female dichotomy, grey isn't such a good thing, and doctors take it upon themselves to remedy the issue with scalpels and amputations.
1 out of every 100 people are born with bodies that differ from the male-female standard. 1 out of every thousand of those people undergo some kind of surgery in order to 'normalise' their genitals. In many cases, these irreversible procedures with complex consequences take place during infancy, without the individuals being able to make decisions about their own bodies.
Today might be one of the most important days in my life, I've decide to announce with you all I'm #intersex, read my story in USA Today (link in bio) I want to bring awerness and put to light the irreversible Unnecessary non consent surgeries we often go trough as kids ?✌️FEEL FREE TO SHARE #intersex #StopIGM (Intersex Genital Mutilation) #intersexHanne #intersexy @interact_adv
This is the case of Belgian model Hanne Gaby Odiele, favourite of Alexander Wang and face of big houses such as Dior, Gucci and Prada, who at 29 has come out as intersex.
'It is very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo', she explained to USA Today. 'At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this'.
The model has a condition called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which affects 1 out of every 20,000. Odiele is female, but genetically masculine (she has XY chromosomes). She was born with testicles, but after doctors explained to her parents that 'she could develop cancer', and that 'she wouldn't develop as a normal woman', she had surgery to remove them at just 10 years old.
'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. At 18 (one year after she was discovered at a Belgian music festival) she underwent a second operation to reconstruct her vagina.
'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 says of the operation her parents subjected her to.
Odiele hopes that by giving visibility to the intersex community, she can change the social stigma surrounding intersexuality that exists due to the irreversible 'corrective' surgeries performed on babies and children.
'I am proud to be intersex,' she said, 'but very angry that these surgeries are still happening.'