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

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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 Andrée, her wife of 52 years and the mother of their three children.

claudette

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."

claudette

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 honesty 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.

  • “This morning it’s been 52 years since we said ‘yes’ to each other for life.” Claudette with her wife, Andrée. Because Claudette’s parents declared her male at birth, she was able to marry the love of her life, Andrée, with whom she has three children and has always loved her for who she is.
  • “I was born with both male and female genital parts so that it wasn’t clear if I was a boy or a girl when I was born. But my parents let me chose who I was, what my identity was even if they declared me as a boy at my birth. In 1937 it was an undeniable advantage."
  • "Sport has always been an important part of my life. Cycling is one of my passion, I have done it all my life and I have no intention to stop. I still win competitions at my age and record better times than people thirty years younger than me."
  • A lot of prostitutes get tired of the job after a few years. Those who stay in the business the longest are those with a different gender identity, transexuals or hermaphrodites. The look of men is felt as a validation of the sexual identity they have chosen. This look from others, which is so often a cause of suffering in daily life, there is filled with desire for their body, so full of it that they are ready to pay to obtain it."
  • "The satisfaction of work well done is incomparable in prostitution. When a client is happy, I’m happy too. It’s social work, how can anyone deny that we make people happy, that we are useful? In my job I have the certainty that I have done what was right."

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