Transgender (and not so transgender) models among us
By Noah Michelson
Photo: Getty Images
Inspired by news that the next season of America's Next Top Model will feature a transgender contestant named Isis Tsunami, New York magazine took it upon itself to write up a short history of the "tranny model."
The only problem? While we adore New York magazine, it appears they need a crash course in Gender Studies 101 ASAP. After discussing Teri Toye -- one of the first transgender models to appear in editorials in mainstream fashion magazines, including a spread in Interview wearing Gaultier -- they move onto RuPaul. Granted, Ru did do much to expose middle America to the joys of gender bending campy self-expression as one of the first widely known and publicized bad ass drag queens on the scene, but she isn't trans. Neither is Andre J, the newly appointed bearded first lady of fashion who was and was shot by Bruce Weber alongside Carolyn Murphy for French Vogue last November.
Don't get us wrong: obviously there's some major gender mischief at work here, but even in the loosey-goosey fashion world where anything and everything goes, you can't just label everyone whose identification with or tendencies toward the male or the female is flip-flopped, off track, or puzzling as trannies.
Still, we appreciate the article -- however misinformed -- if only for reminding us how far fashion has come, and how far it has to go. And here's to hoping Isis can survive Tyra long enough to turn a few heads and change a few minds.
-- NOAH MICHELSON