A South African beauty queen has come out as intersex.
Sharon-Rose Khumalo, the freshly crowned Miss Mamelodi Sundowns, opened up in an interview with Glamour magazine.
‘Being a person of substance has nothing to do with being straight, gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex,’ she said.
‘The most important issue for us human beings is what we do with our lives.’
She also said she wanted to use her platform to raise awareness about intersex people.
Khumalo herself didn’t find out she was intersex until four years ago, when she turned 21.
‘For me there was no reason my parents could think otherwise,’ she told Sowetan LIVE.
‘I grew up seemingly like a normal traditional female.’
She found out when she went to the doctor because she still hadn’t gotten her period.
Khumalo was diagnosed with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome; as a result, she was born without ovaries and a uterus.
The diagnosis left her ‘shattered’, she said.
‘I remember I just wanted to go home and cry it out because I went to the doctor thinking that he will just say “oh gain some weight, take this medication and then everything will be sorted”,’ she told Sowetan.
‘And now he just dropped this bomb on me and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
‘Sometimes I am okay and then on some days I look at other women who have children and I know I will never have that, but I have learnt to accept that this is the situation and I can’t really change it.’
To combat the loneliness she felt after finding out she was intersex, Khumalo started writing her own blog.
There she talks about everything to do with being intersex – from her fear of revealing it to the Miss South Africa judges to her experience with dating.
But Khumalo also very openly speaks of her initial struggle before she could accept herself.
‘Coming out to talk about this was me saying “Yes, I may be different from the next “girl” but there is nothing wrong with me and I have absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of, because at times I felt like there was”,’ she writes.
‘And know darling child, know that whatever you may be going through you don’t have to suffer in silence.’