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Andreja Pejic: I’m transgender

Andreja Pejic has come out as a transgender woman.

The model was previously known as Andrej Pejic and was renowned for modeling both men’s and women’s clothing, even walking Jean Paul Gaultier’s catwalk in a wedding dress. She has now confirmed that she underwent gender reassignment surgery earlier this year and thanked fans for their support.

“To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are,” she told GLAAD. “All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.”

Andreja also posted a selfie on Facebook, where she called her transition a “life-changing process”.

She gave an in-depth interview to about her new life, in which she clarified that she identifies as female. Andreja, 22, explained that this wasn’t a decision which she took quickly or easily, rather something she has known would happen from a very early age.

“I figured out who I was very early on – actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet – so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much,” she said. “Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like ‘trans’ and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood.”

The model added that she feels a certain amount of responsibility to ensure her struggle, and that of others like her, is properly understood. She hopes to make it easier for other young people to be open about who they are.

When she was young, Andreja was drawn toward feminine things but as she was born a boy she didn’t understand why. Between the ages of nine and 13 she became determined to be a “normal boy”, but then she went online and realized that she was transgender.

Although she was just 13, she began the first steps towards her surgery which was a psychiatric evaluation.

“I started seeing psychiatrists, and then I stopped when I started modeling, and I started again about a year and a half ago,” she said. “But medical attention is crucial for any trans person because it helps you figure out who you are. You go through some really strict testing before you’re even allowed to have the surgery.

“I would like [the public] to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.”

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