Geena Rocero is a stunning swimsuit model, but until recently, she had a secret. Rocero gave a TED talk on her transgender identity and why she made the decision to come out.

Rocero said during her speech that for nine years, some of her friends, colleagues and even her agent did not know that Rocero was born with a male gender assignment. She decided to come out last year in order to help others who struggle with their transgender identity.

Rocero pointed at a sexy photo of herself in a swimsuit and said, "When I look at this picture, at that time I felt like, Geena, you've done it, you've made it, you have arrived. But this past October, I realized that I'm only just beginning." She then revealed that she was born with male genitalia, though she always self-identified as a woman.

The successful model said she regretted withholding her history. "Because of my success, I never had the courage to share my story, not because I thought what I am is wrong, but because of how the world treats those of us who wish to break free," she said."


Rocero said she decided to move to the U.S. upon learning she could change her legal name and gender marker there. "I remember looking at my California driver's license with the name Geena and gender marker," she recalled. "That was a powerful moment." It spurred Rocero into pursuing a modeling career in New York.

Rocero called her TED talk her official coming out, and said she was doing it in honor of trans community members who committed suicide. "Our suicide rate is nine times higher than that of the general population," she said. "Every November 20, we have a global vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance. I'm here at this stage because it's a long history of people who fought and stood up for injustice."

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark

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