This Intersex Model Fuels the Fashion Industry’s Gender Revolution

Get ready for intersex models.
istock/webphotographeer

Modern day models come in all shapes and sizes.

And thanks to people like Andreja Pejić, fashion fanatics have become accustomed to seeing transgender models.

Just recently, Hanne Gaby Odiele, a famous international model, recently revealed she’s intersex in hopes to normalize the status.

What’s intersex?

People who identify as intersex are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fall into the traditional male or female category.

This means a person could have both male and female reproductive organs, or could have external male genitalia and internal female reproductive organs, or the opposite, or have XX and XY chromosomes in cells all through their body, the Intersex Society of North America reports.

In a USA Today interview, Odiele states that she revealed her status because the condition shouldn’t be taboo.

“At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this,” Odiele says.

Odiele’s story

Odiele was born with XY chromosomes—chromosomes typically found in males—and XX chromosomes, as well as internal, un-descended testes.

The model was told that she’d have to get her testes removed or she could develop cancer and impair her development as a female, Glamour reports. So, when Odiele turned 18, she had the surgery, although she didn’t fully understand the impact the procedure would have on her body.

Intersex surgeries are not needed and are often suggested so a person can appear more male or female.

“It’s not that big of a deal being intersex,” Odiele says. “If they were just honest from the beginning…It became a trauma because of what they did.”

Odiele’s intersex status hasn’t got in the way of her fame. After all, the 29-year-old supermodel has worked with the likes of Alexander Wang.

The ever-changing fashion industry

With a little research, you can easily discover there are many models who don’t traditionally fit into male or female fashion.

Rain Dove, androgynous model, has made a name for her self by showing how easy it is to “look” female or male. The model often displays various looks on Instagram and reports how she was treated when dressed as male vs. female. Hear a snippet of her story below.

And it appears that the fashion industry, as a whole, is on the normalization train, too. According to Huffington Post UK, Gucci, Guess, and Zara have all recently launched gender-neutral lines. The lines are supposed to help people—no matter their gender—find clothing that works with individual lifestyles.

We can only assume that more stories like the above will come to light in the coming year and hope that the industry—and public—react kindly. After all, the future is technically gender-whatever.

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Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy! Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.