Model Geena Rocero came out transgender on Monday, coinciding with International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Rocero, the founder of Gender Proud, said in a CNN op-ed that she was “not born a boy” but “assigned boy at birth.”

“Understanding the difference between the two is crucial to our culture and society moving forward in the way we treat – and talk about – transgender individuals,” Rocero wrote.

“Growing up [in] the Philippines, I was involved in transgender beauty pageants from the age of 15. In Asian cultures, the fluidity of gender has been part of life for thousands of years, evidenced by the Buddhist Goddess of compassion, GuanYin and the Hindu hijra Goddess, Bahuchara Mata, who is sacred to men who want to be cured of impotence, and to women wanting to become pregnant.”

In a TED talk delivered last month titled Why I Must Come Out, Rocero said “Today, this very moment is my real coming out. I am here exposed … to help others live without shame and terror.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)