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Michelle Obama was once Michael? No, old photo altered

A Facebook post shared – and debated – among people in Nigeria claims that Michelle Obama, wife of former US president Barack Obama, was once biologically male.

It shows two photos. One is of a younger Barack with his arm around a person who has close-cropped hair and Michelle’s face. The second shows Barack and Michelle Obama – her hair long – in a similar pose.

“His name is Michael but after going through transgender process he now answer Michelle,” the post reads

Was Michelle Obama once Michael, and has she gone through a “transgender process”?

 

michelle_false

 

‘You’re one of a kind’  

A Google reverse image search yielded several results. They include reports that the first photo is an old pic Barack tweeted on 17 January 2019 to wish Michelle a happy birthday, and has been doctored.

“I knew it way back then and I’m absolutely convinced of it today — you’re one of a kind, @MichelleObama. Happy Birthday!” he wrote

 

I knew it way back then and I’m absolutely convinced of it today — you’re one of a kind, @MichelleObama. Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/ejqm0uC9J4

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 17, 2019

 

A comparison of the original and the photo posted on Facebook shows that Michelle’s hair and eyebrows have been altered, and her left earring cropped out.

Biographies and media reports about Michelle Obama’s childhood also prove the claim is false.  

Childhood photos Michelle shared in October 2019 show her as a little girl growing up with her brother, Craig Robinson.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

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