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Top model Hanne Gaby Odiele, proud of being intersex: “I don’t feel female or male”

After confessing early this year that she is intersexual, top model Hanne Gaby Odiele said in a recent interview for The Guardian that she learned to accept her condition. Odiele said she does not feel female or male and this gives her a different point of view on certain things, compared to other girls.

At the same time,  the model confessed she will never be able to talk to other women about periods or about giving birth. However, this does not make her a male and is proud of being intersexual.

29-year-old Hanne Gaby Odiele was born in Belgium and suffered from cryptorhidya, a condition in which the abdomen hosts testicles that did not exit the body. Gaby had her testicles surgically removed at the age of 10.


Intersex persons are born with a combination on male and female sexual features. Hanne, however, has a more complicated life story, with her path towards a successful modelling career influenced by childhood experiences marked by  intersexuality, she suffered several traumatising surgical interventions, besides having to hide her condition.

‘I don’t feel female and I don’t feel male, but I do like ‘she’. I feel I have a distinct view on certain things that other girls can’t see”, Hanne explained.

She now looks at her current situation as a normality and even spoke about the unique perspective her gender offers. ‘There’s a kind of shame placed on our bodies, like we’re not supposed to talk about it. I will never know what it is to be a cis-gender woman, I will never be able to talk about a period or having a child, but I’m not a man either – I’m proud intersex.’

Hanne is married to John Swiatek, who is also a professional model. Since they cannot have children, the model confessed they are opened to the idea of adoption, especially since her husband was adopted as well.

Hanne Gaby Odiele is a famous top model that made it into the public eye after revealing she is intersex. She chose to make her story public so as to demolish taboos.

Lydia Peirce