Singer Elle Bandita comes out as hermaphrodite in new reality TV show

Elle Bandita
Elle Bandita. Photo: Guido van Nispen / Wikimedia Commons

Dutch rock singer Ryanne van Dorst, better known as Elle Bandita, was born a hermaphrodite, she announced in her new reality show Geslacht! on NPO3 on Tuesday. She was born with both male and female sexual characteristics, and on the doctor's advice her parents decided to "make" her a girl with surgery and hormone treatments, she said in an interview with the Volkskrant.

In the television show Van Dorst says little about her intersexuality, "because this series is not about me". It was even kept a secret until the show premiered. "I did not want to use my story to attract viewers", she explained to the newspaper. "It is ultimately the reason why I made this program for BNN. To me this is normal, but for many people this is taboo. I want to break through that."

"I'm what you call a 'true hermaphorodite'", Van Dorst said to the Volkskrant. "As a baby I had grown ovaries and testes. Chromosomal, internal and external I was born with two genders. All male pieces were cut away when I was a baby. After that I had to behave like a girl. That was the spirit of the times, I don't blame anyone."

As a teenager Van Dorst had some trouble with who she was, feeling squeezed into the role of 'girl'. But now she's "found inner peace" and only takes minimal doses of hormones. "I don't let myself be affected by the expectations of others. The one time I do something that is associated with women, other times something masculine. Sometimes I don't feel like a man or a woman, sometimes both at once. I'm above it."

The 32-year-old singer will not be appearing on talk shows as an "sorry-hermaphrodite", she said to the newspaper. "I'm so much more than this." But she realizes that her revelation will raise questions, which is why she agreed to an interview with the newspaper. The full interview will appear in Volkskrant Magazine on Saturday. 

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