Category Archives: Fashion

Personal appearance, clothing, fashion, makeup, etc. Includes trans beauty contest news.

Camp Allows Gender Non-conforming Boys To Shine

This is the sort of story which really touches me – in fact I wondered if it was a cruel hoax at first, but it appears to be absolutely real.

Over the past three years, photographer Lindsay Morris has been documenting a four-day camp for gender-non-conforming boys and their parents.

The camp in the US, “You Are You” (the name has been changed to protect the privacy of the children and is also the name of Morris’ series), is for “parents who don’t have a gender-conforming three-year-old who wants to wear high heels and prefers to go down the pink aisle in K-Mart and not that nasty dark boys’ aisle”, Morris said with a laugh.

I think actually my favorite part of the story is the main photograph showing the smiling, clapping parents as a child walks in front of them in their dress.

It’s a feel-good transgender story, and there are two other lovely photographs at the link below, which I urge you to see.

Camp allows boys who do not conform to gender to shine.

Transgender Supermodel Ines-Loan Rau Bares All – Really

Seriously folks, the link below is NOT SAFE FOR WORK, so do not click it if unless you want to see a nude transwoman. Some parts are blurred out, but if you Google you can find them easily enough. I picked a photo from the page of Ines-Loan with another supermodel, the genderqueer (it’s the term they use for themself) Andrej Pelic.

Honestly, I don’t know what I can add to this. The article by the Daily Mail contains photos from a shoot with transgender supermodel Ines-Loan Rau. Also contained at the link is a video interview with Russian transgender supermodel Stas Fedyanin, who I confess I had never heard of before.

Transgender supermodel Ines-Loan Rau bares all in sizzling photo shoot | Mail Online.

Highly Interesting Photos of the Kansas City CD/T Scene, and an Upcoming Local Event

PrivateBirthdayParty0Unknown, 1958

I was pointed to an article in New York Magazine by an acquaintance, which highlights something which I think is very cool. The subject is the discovery and a project to exhibit an incredibly rare collection of photos of the crossdressing, drag, and transgender scene in Kansas City in the 1950’s and 1960’s. From the original article:

In 2006, artist Robert Heishman was poking around a Kansas City salvage yard, looking for material for an undergraduate documentary class, when he stumbled upon a slide carousel labeled “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City.”

“The first image I looked at was this picture of a man in a kimono that was incredibly colorful — it was just a stunning image to behold,” Heishman told the Cut. “There were family photos, and then I hit this line of images that were all people dressed in drag, predominantly standing in front of this beautiful mosaic outside a bar.” Intrigued, Heishman purchased the slides — for $2. “I didn’t really know what I was purchasing, but I wanted to have time to sit with them a little longer,” he explains.

Two years later, Heishman’s longtime friend Michael Boles was helping a friend move into a new house in Kansas City — which, as he describes it, was right around the corner from the drag clubs that were vibrant in the ’50s and ’60s. He came across a shoebox of slides that turned out to be quite similar to the ones Heishman had found at the scrapyard. “When we got them together and paired them up, it was kind of amazing,” Boles reflects. “Some of them are even from the same parties.” The resulting collection — titled “Private Birthday Party,” after the signs that used to appear on club doors when drag balls were taking place — includes over 200 images and provides a vivid glimpse of Kansas City’s early drag-ball culture. Heishman and Boles have since brought on Emily Henson to help with background research; together, the three believe they’re close to identifying the photographer.

PrivateBirthdayParty1Unknown, December 1964
PrivateBirthdayParty3Unknown, December 1964

A first peek at these rare photos can be found on the project site, Private Birthday Party. I confess that when I saw the wonderful old photos complete with their classy kitsch I let out a squeal of joy which raised my wife’s eyebrows.
PrivateBirthdayParty2The Colony, 1959

What’s more, there is a debut party and fundraiser for the project which will be held on April 17, 2014, at the Guild in downtown Kansas City. Yours truly is intending to attend, and I hope to be able to ask some questions directly of the folks involved in this project. If anyone reading this wants to say hi, show up and look for the funny little lady with her camera.

PrivateBirthdayParty4The Colony, November 1968
Click here for a direct link to the photo gallery in its current form. I very much hope that they will be posting all of the photographs soon, and in higher resolution as well.

RuPaulGate Continues, as ’Drag Race’ Comes Under Fire for Transphobia

RuPaulDragRace
I’m sorry, but I’m liking RuPaul less and less the more that I investigate his history and see clips of him throwing around the “trannie” word, and claiming such things as that the only difference between a transgender woman and a drag queen was “$25,000 and a good surgeon.”

In this latest churning of the saga, RuPaul is coming under more fire for alleged transphobia in his Drag Race program. Commenting on RuPaul’s apparent inability to cease equivocating drag performers and transwomen, blogger Rafi D’Angelo, who was carried on Slate, posted the following, which I think all of you should read.

“Part of the problem with this little game is that a drag queen is not, in fact, a ’psychological woman.’ A drag queen is a drag queen. A drag queen goes home at night, takes off the wigs and makeup, and is still a man. You can be the most feminine queen in drag, but, at the end of day, you still enjoy the privileges of being a cisgender man. Trans women don’t have that option. They are women every day, and that comes with the threat of ridicule, exposure, and violence. True, there are male-to-female transgender folks who gravitated toward drag as part of their journey through gender identity, but that’s a limited case. Generally speaking, to put drag queens, who pretend to be something like women as a profession or hobby, in the same category with trans women-which is to say, real women-is offensive.”

RuPaul has not personally responded to the growing criticisms, but rather has relied upon joint statements from the show’s team of officials to respond thus:

“We delight in celebrating every color in the LGBT rainbow,” RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe and Mandy Salangsang said in a joint statement via NewNowNext. “When it comes to the movement of our trans sisters and trans brothers, we are newly sensitized and more committed than ever to help spread love, acceptance and understanding.”

And next we have two transgender contestants of RuPaul’s Drag Race, who have come out to criticize the program. The first one is model Carmen Carrera, who states:

“I am certain ’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ didn’t mean to be offensive, let this be a learning experience. I think the show has opened up and educated the minds of many people who were ignorant to the world of drag and has made equality and respect a possibility for those involved, not only as equal beings, but as phenomenal artists. There has always been a huge presence of trans artists in the drag scene. ’Shemale’ is an incredibly offensive term, and this whole business about if you can tell whether a woman is biological or not is getting kind of old. We live in a new world where understanding and acceptance are on the rise. ’Drag Race’ should be a little smarter about the terms they use and comprehend the fight for respect trans people are facing every minute of today. They should use their platform to educate their viewers truthfully on all facets of drag performance art.”

CarmenCarreraCarmen Carrera

Strong words. Also strong are the words of Monica Beverly Hillz, who stated:

“After my experience of being on the show, I would say that, to me, the use of the words ’she-male,’ ’ladyboy’ and ’tranny’ are not cute at all,” she said. “I have fought, and still am fighting, for respect from society — to be accepted as a woman and not referred to as a ’tranny’ or “’she-male.’”

“People don’t understand the daily struggle it is to be a transgender woman. Some days are great and some days I can’t be around anyone because I have so much anxiety, so much on my mind and just feel alone in this world.

After being on TV and coming out, it is very difficult to live a normal life. So when you see a show that you look up to and have been a part of, it kind of sucks hearing them use those words.

I will say that RuPaul and the entire cast and production team were amazing. To this day they still check up on me, so for that I am forever grateful.

However, maybe some things need to be changed about the show, because it’s not just a drag show anymore. We have beautiful transgender cast mates paving the way for all transgender showgirls.”

Many of my friends will disagree with me, but I’m stunned in just the relatively short time that I’ve been an activist in the growing gulf between trangender persons and crossdressers and drag performers. I may have to do some research on this.

’Drag Race’ Comes Under Fire for Transphobia, RuPaul Responds :: EDGE Chicago.

RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slurs

RuPaul really tries the patience of some in the transgender community. For others, however, he really pisses us off. He simultaneously will claim to speak for the transgender community while mocking it with an “I don’t give a shit” attitude.

Unfortunately, while that attitude may be endearing with honey badgers, it really isn’t fetching when it comes from a drag queen with a drastically inflated sense of self-worth.

A few choice quotes from this article:

Last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race featured a contest many on Twitter are calling transphobic. The game, “Female or Shemale,” pitted the contestants against each other in a quest to determine whether they were being shown a picture of — as RuPaul phrased it — “a biological woman or a psychological woman.”

In announcing the name of the game, “female” was said in a higher-pitched tone, while “shemale” was said in a low, gruff, masculine-sounding tone.

Nope, nothing wrong here! Oh, wait…

This is far from the first time RuPaul has stoked the ire of trans people. He has famously defended his use of the word “tranny” on Drag Race and in his music, and once claimed that the only difference between a transgender woman and a drag queen was “$25,000 and a good surgeon.”

Ah…good plan, dude. Next time, try saying something intelligent for a change.

RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slur | Advocate.com.

Transgender Student Inspires in All-Girl Pageant

There’s so much to like about this story. I wish that it could be repeated in so many more places.

A Chapman University senior became the first transgender contestant in the university’s annual all-woman pageant Wednesday night, winning the title of Miss Congeniality.

Addie Vincent, 21, faced off against 15 other competitors for the title of Miss Delta Queen, a competition organized by the university’s Greek system. The pageant’s winner was Alexandria Kessinger.

“Tonight was so awesome,” Vincent said after the pageant. “The fact that I was just able to compete was so amazing on its own.”

Throughout the contest, many of the 500 students and audience members whooped and hollered every time Vincent took the stage at Memorial Hall.

Following the poem, students shouted, “We love you Addie!” and gave Vincent the night’s only standing ovation.

“Addie has inspired so many people,” said Lauren Chouinard, a friend and former pageant contestant. “Addie sent a message so many people needed to hear.”

Each contestant was nominated by a campus fraternity or sorority. The Alpha Delta Phi fraternity chose Vincent with a 20-0 vote, with fraternity members saying they nominated the senior to show support for the transgender community.

I’m a little troubled by the fact that she had to be nominated by her fraternity, but that may just be a necessary incongruence.

Transgender student inspires at Chapman pageant – The Orange County Register.

Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters – A Fashion Film Featuring 17 Transgender Models

Barneys
Barneys of New York has been in the news a little lately after they decided to feature transgender models in their latest catalog, photographed by Bruce Weber and posing in the typical high-end designer clothing one expects from Barneys. A total of 17 transgender models were featured, including Katie Hill and Arin Andrews, the famous Oklahoma transwoman-transman couple. The catalog has been receiving generally positive reviews and positive press, which is really nice, although Barneys is a fairly exclusive offering which tends to only be read by wealthy somewhat liberal shoppers.

What’s really interesting, though, is the fact that Barney’s didn’t just use them for their photos, they also sponsored a video of the photo shoot and features of the transgender models, which can be seen below. It’s very artistic, meaning there is a lengthy introduction and musical score, but it’s not bad to watch. There is a lot of dancing, and twirling in fog, and at one point there’ an owl…I don’t know why…and an iguana…yeah, well, it is Barneys.

ESSAY: Una Rambles a Bit About the Cisgender Focus on Genitals

Vogue-Breathless

I confess that I saw the Barney’s photo shoot for their catalog which featured transgender models when the news first ran, and I didn’t feel it was really newsworthy enough to report upon. Vogue disagreed, and ran a transgender advocacy piece on their website, which is linked below.

The article is an interesting read, but there’s nothing really groundbreaking. However, this quote from the article caught my eye:

It’s astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex—trying to determine what goes where, and how often. They can’t imagine any system outside their own, and seem obsessed with the idea of roles, both in bed and out of it.

This is very true when I debate transgender rights on various message boards across the net, but in a different way. Many cisgender people want to focus on our genitals. It’s the first thing they think of when they meet a transgender person, and if they are socially inept enough one may be asked “OMG! Are those tits real? Did you have your dick cut off? OMG!” When a transman is encountered, the reaction can be “OMG! So do you like wear a strap-on all the time?! OMG!”

This of course is at best willful ignorance, and at worst thinly-disguised hate.

The questions also come fast and furious about our sexual preference: “So, um, do you date men? Does that make you gay, or ‘something else?’ So you stayed married to your wife? Are you, like, a lesbian? How do you have sex? Doesn’t the wife miss ‘the dick?’ ” (well if she did, I could introduce her to the giant talking one I’m facing right now…) And most charming of all, “um, hey, can I watch?”

Charlie Sheen; Jon Cryer
Yeeees…lesbians…

For all that many cisgender people define transgender persons by our genitals and sexual intimacy, they miss the glaringly obvious point that it’s they who are thinking about the penis, the vagina, the breasts, and all the rest of the naughty bits which fill the average American with a frisson of glee whenever the subject arises. In doing so they admit their ignorance on understanding what gender really is. What is a man? What is a woman? They ignore the entire 99% or more of our lives which are spent in a gender role – living, loving, going to work, playing, shopping, and everything else – outside of sex.

Conservative religious followers scream with fury “THEY WANT TO PUT BOYS IN OUR GIRLS’ BATHROOMS!” and contemptuously brush aside the overarching whole of “what does it really mean to be a girl?” Others claim that the Bible, Koran, and other holy books are always and forever literally true, every word of them: God created men and women, there is nothing else, and you don’t dare presume to change that fact. When confronted with the fact that intersex people exist, they either brush it off as a birth defect, deny that intersex people exist and claim it’s all part of a government conspiracy, or go so far as to claim that intersex people are demonic spawn who God personally wants them to ostracize, mock, hurt, and kill.

And these folks can vote. Think about that for a golden moment.

I’ve told these folks “Me personally, I don’t believe God makes mistakes. The fact is, intersex people do exist, transgender people do exist, and we are all children of God, a creator, or nature and the universe, depending on your beliefs. You believe in an omnipotent and omniscient God, but think they made a mistake somehow? What the hell, do you think they were they doing Jäger shots when they created me?”

Jager
God doesn’t make mistakes, nor did they do Jäger shots when creating intersex and transgender persons.

Rarely are their hearts and minds open to the possibility that their own God did not make a mistake, and rather it is ever-so fallible human beings who are mistaken when they wrote the Bible.

Perhaps if as a society we educated our children on understanding gender – not just the traditional roles, but the reality of gender fluidity and gender ambiguity – rather than sex, we would raise a generation of children wherein small-minded, hateful bigots would be a vanishingly small minority.

Breathless: Ignorance or Insensitivity? Dealing with Transgender Culture – Culture – Music, Movies, Art, Profiles, and More.

“We Are Princesses In A Land Of Machos”

Muxes2
Photographer Nicola Ókin Frioli spent months traveling across Mexico documenting the Muxes, individuals who identify as neither men nor women but instead embody a third category of mixed gender. A society which brings to mind the more well-known hijra, they form a unique culture in a country where there is normally a powerful divide between men and women, and where transgressors in either direction are subjected to frightful discrimination and abuse.

The Muxes therefore formed their society in Juchitan and on the surrounding Tehuantepec Isthmus, and have become to some extent respected and valued members of society.

There is a short interview with the photographer, and a slideshow of 16 photos available at the link below.

Nicola Ókin Frioli Documents Muxes In ‘We Are Princesses In A Land Of Machos’ (PHOTOS).

Transgender Beauty Queen Jenna Talackova Has Fashion Spread in Elle Canada

JennaTalackova
There’s a lot to like about Jenna Talackova. She’s well-spoken, an advocate for transgender rights who doesn’t try to downplay her past or her transgender status, and she’s photogenic to boot. She’s filming a reality TV series for E! Canada tentatively titled Brave New Girl, and now she has a fasion spread in Elle Canada, which you can read a little bit of here.

Transgender pageant star Jenna Talackova scores fashion spread in Elle Canada.

Victoria’s Secret Petitioned To Make Carmen Carrera Its First Transgender Model

Carmen_CarerraIt seems a bit unlikely – Victoria’s Secret has never been known to be interested in transgender models, even though they have been trying to break into the venue since the mid-2000’s. An unsanctioned event featuring Thai ladyboys once aired claiming to be sponsored by Victoria’s Secret, and the company went out of its way to distance itself from the event.

There is a video with sound at the link below, which features some top nudity.

NOT WORK-SAFE: Victoria’s Secret Petitioned To Make Carmen Carrera Its First Transgender Model.

Exclusive to Transas City – Foot and Shoe Size Differences Between Women and Men

Shoes
Exclusive to Transas City – I’ve done research on the differences in foot and shoe sizes between women and men, in the hopes that it will give some encouragement to transwomen and transmen who worry about the size and appearance of their feet. The complete study can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Foot Size Differences Between Women and Men – a Scientific Review by Una

Thailand: 2013 Transgender Beauty Pageant Crowned

2013_ContestThere is a gallery of 10 photos from the contest at the link below. But one story which may be both bigger and also more nebulous to report on is that just in the few years I’ve been tracking transgender news, I’ve seen a gradual but persistent improvement in the way in which transgender persons are reported on in Chinese media. Sure, civil rights are still a serious problem in China, especially for transgender persons, but the change sometimes starts with the media and how it treats a marginalized group.

2013 transgender beauty pageant crowned – People’s Daily Online.

Transgender Catwalk Model Nicole Gibson Wows Audiences

OK, now a bit of skin…and what skin, too. Nicole, you are really working your transition, holy crap! The before and after photos are stunning, although there is a significant age difference between the two.

Transgender catwalk model Nicole Gibson wows audiences just days before sex swap surgery – Mirror Online.