On Monday, model Hanne Gaby Odiele revealed that she's intersex in an interview with USA Today. It's a trait that's about as common as having red hair (1.7 percent of the population is born intersex), but it's rarely talked about and often misunderstood.
As a general rule, anyone born with genitals or chromosomes that don't match the general definitions of male (penis and XY) or female (vagina and XX) is intersex. Odiele was born with typical female genitals, plus internal, undescended testes and XY chromosomes.
Odiele's testes were surgically removed when she was 10 years old, after doctors told her parents they could cause cancer and stop her from developing as a "normal girl." Her parents made the decision before she could fully understand what the surgery meant.
These surgeries designed to "fix" intersex kids are unfortunately common. That's why Odiele partnered with interACT, an advocacy group for intersex youth. Check out her message for intersex children, their parents, and their doctors: