Meet Claudette, An Intersex Sex Worker From Switzerland (NSFW)

Published: April 1, 2014

This is Claudette. Claudette is a husband, a grandfather and an award-winning cyclist. She’s also an intersex sex worker. “I’d rather sell my ass than my soul; it’s harder but much cleaner,” she told photographer Malika Gaudin Delrieu soon after they met.

Delrieu became enamored with Claudette’s story, so much so that she decided to document her life in photographs. She dubbed the stunning series “La Vie en Rose.” The images chronicle Claudette’s daily life, from eyeing lingerie in a shop window to hugging Andre, her wife of 52 years and the mother of their three children.

Born with both male and female genitalia, Claudette’s parents assigned her a male gender when she was born in Switzerland in 1937, when being male was a clear advantage. Throughout her life, gender has played a major role in Claudette’s identity, though not a defining one. “I never felt bad about being hermaphrodite, it’s the others who have a problem with it; not me,” Claudette told Delrieu. “…I have always felt like a girl and I lived my life accordingly. I have the sex of the angels, why would I be ashamed of it?”

To fully play with the possibilities and ramifications of gender roles, Claudette turns to prostitution. “Prostitution becomes a source of self confidence,” Claudette explained, “for people who see in prostitutes the ultimate femininity and who assume this role with happiness and a sense of relief.”

Though her unconventional gender identity and choice of profession are commonly associated with trauma and shame, Claudette wears both aspects of her life with pride and joy. Refusing to be pitied for what other people may be uncomfortable with, Claudette displays the immense power that accompanies a deep love for oneself. With honestly and bravery, she creates a life for herself on her own terms — a life that, despite the more unconventional details of her existence, is made up of the universal components of work, family, memories and love.

“Claudette unnerves some people because she lives a happy and coherent life while denying a fundamental moral precept,” Delrieu said.

Glimpse into the daily details of Claudette’s radiant life below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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