source: Instagram

23-year-old transgender model Stav Strashko is proud of her body. But she needs you to know something: unlike many other transgender people in the media, she has no plans for gender reassignment surgery. Let her explain.

The Israeli-born model recently told Teen Vogue,

I do consider myself a trans person. By definition, transgender doesn’t include only those who have had surgery; it’s just someone who identifies with another gender. But I never wanted to go through the surgery — I feel comfortable in my body. I have a boyfriend who loves me the way I am. I don’t want to change anything.”

Beautifully said!

But while Stav is currently comfortable in her skin, it took her a while to understand her identity as a trans person.

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Credit Instagram

“No one ever told me what being gay or transgender was. The only time I heard those words used was as an insult. So, when I realized I was attracted to boys and to my feminine side, I didn’t know how to deal with it. It took me a long time to build the confidence to know that this is normal.”

She added, “I didn’t understand that I wanted to live my life as a girl.”

We’re so happy that Stav Strashko found her way and now she can be a role model for others.

Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.