AUSTRALIAN model Andreja Pejic publicly came out as a trans woman over the weekend.
Formerly known as Andrej Pejic, the 22-year-old model built fame and a reputation with both men’s and women’s clothing.
The Bosnian-born and Melbourne-bred model spoke with website Style.com about her identity.
“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,” she said.
In the interview Pejic also spoke about the process of sex reassignment surgery, including the dismissal of those who believe the surgery is just cosmetic.
“You have to get a psychiatric evaluation, which I started at the age of 13,” she said.
“I started seeing psychiatrists, and then I stopped when I started modeling, and I started again about a year and a half ago. 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.”
Since confirming her gender identity, Pejic has received a tweet of support from Hollywood trans* identity Laverne Cox, and she also posted the following message on her Facebook page:
“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. Most importantly differences should not equal divisions, let’s all stand together in union. #betruebeyou”