TIME gender

Fashion Model Comes Out as Transgender Woman

Jean Paul Gaultier - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2011 Runway - Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week
Andrej Pejic walks the runway at the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on January 26, 2011 in Paris, France. Nathalie Lagneau—Catwalking/Getty Images

Andreja Pejic was famous for her androgynous runway look.

Andreja Pejic, the famously androgynous Serbian fashion icon who has modeled both men’s and women’s styles, came out as a transgender woman on her Facebook page Thursday.

Pejic, who was known throughout her fashion career as “Andrej” but has changed her name to Andreja, posted a selfie along with an announcement that she said she hoped would inspire other transgender youths:

I think we all evolve as we get older and that’s normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn’t made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all just a different sex I hope you can all understand that.

I would also like to to reach out to all young gender non-conforming youth out there: I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but remember it’s your right to be accepted as what you identify with—you deserve the same respect as any other human being on this planet. As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past.

The model told People.com that despite her long and successful career modeling both women’s and mens’s fashions, she opted to have gender reassignment surgery in order to identify as a transgender woman. “I was proud of my gender nonconforming career,” Pejic says. “But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body. I have to be true to myself and the career is just going to have to fit around that.”

Like other major transgender activists like Laverne Cox, who was featured in TIME’s cover story on the transgender movement, Pejic declined to discuss the specifics of her surgery with People.com, saying that “what’s in between anyone’s legs is not who they are.”

 

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