Model raising awareness of stigma surroundng intersex

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Model raising awareness of stigma surroundng intersex

Post by eddie on Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:22 am


Model Hanne Gaby Odiele reveals she is intersex

Belgian says she wants to rid stigma around condition in which people are born with mix of male and female sex characteristics.




Belgian fashion model Hanne Gaby Odiele has revealed she is intersex and that she has gone public in an attempt to reduce the stigma around the condition and encourage other people to embrace their status.

The 29-year-old was born with internal testes and without a uterus or ovaries due to a condition called androgen insensitivity syndrome, which means a person is genetically male, but the external appearance of their genitals may be female or somewhere between male and female.

According to the United Nations, up to 1.7% of the world’s population is born with intersex traits, a figure roughly equivalent to the number of people with red hair. Many keep their condition secret.

“It’s very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo,” Odiele told USA Today. “At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this.”

The model, who has starred in campaigns for Dior, Alexander Wang, Mulberry, Balenciaga and walked the runway for huge fashion houses including Chanel, Givenchy and Prada, is one of the first high-profile people to disclose her intersex status.

Odiele also wanted to highlight the invasive surgeries that she said are often carried out on intersex people because of a fear of non-binary bodies rather than any pressing medical need.

She had surgery to remove her undescended testicles at the age of 10 after doctors warned that they could cause cancer. At 18, she had additional surgery to reconstruct her vagina.

She said the procedures caused her distress, and that she was speaking out in part to discourage parents from putting their children through unnecessary surgery in an effort to make them appear more typically male or female.

“I am proud to be intersex, but very angry that these surgeries are still happening,” she said. “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.”

Odiele’s husband, John Swiatek, also a model, told USA Today he was “incredibly proud of his wife” for speaking out. He added: “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.”

There are at least 40 intersex variations, ranging from genetic, chromosomal, anatomic and hormonal. The UN and the World Health Organisation have condemned nonconsensual genital surgeries on intersex children as human rights violations.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/24/model-hanne-gaby-odiele-reveals-she-is-intersex


Good for her! It's really important that intersex people are recognised and not be made to feel there isn't a stigma attached to who they are.
Well done that lady.

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