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    Posted on Jan 26, 2017

    A 29-Year-Old Supermodel Just Revealed She Is Intersex

    The 29-year-old says she's coming out now to advocate on behalf of children who are intersex.

    This is Hanne Gaby Odiele.

    The 29-year-old Belgian has modeled for designers like Alexander Wang and Christian Dior but is in the news for another reason — Odiele just revealed she's intersex in a story in Vogue magazine.

    Vogue / Via instagram.com

    What does it mean to be intersex? Actually, it can mean a number of things.

    Odiele was born with "androgen insensitivity syndrome," which means she has XY chromosomes of genetic males but doesn't have the external genitalia of typical males.

    Odiele was also born with undescended testicles. When she was 10, a doctor told her parents that if they weren't removed they could cause cancer down the road, so her parents consented to the surgery.

    Odiele says a doctor never explained to her what her options were — that she could have waited to have surgery, or not had surgery at all — or even bothered to define her condition. And, she says it wasn't until years later, when she was 17, that she even heard the term "intersex."

    Odiele's experiences have made her advocate on behalf of other intersex children who may also feel as though they have no choice when it comes to what happens to their bodies. "I'm not against surgery," she told BuzzFeed. "But it should be consented to whenever the child is old enough to decide."

    Odiele hopes that in coming out as intersex she can help foster conversation around gender and bodies. "There's more intersex people than you know. I hope by speaking up, people don't have to feel so lonely anymore."