Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can Too Much Success Threaten Trans Women?

During the past decade we've seen such amazing strides by transgender women unafraid and open in who they are, as they pursue dreams in dozens of different industry sectors.  In fashion, can they fit into the preconceived mold of femininity?

In the 1980s and 1990s there were several world-level models, who while they could come out ot the designers, had to maintain low-key status among advertisers. There were those like Terri Toye and Lauren Foster who did runaway and print modeling, including Vogue.  

However when Lauren Foster was outed during the Miss South Africa pageant it cost her dearly. In an interview she noted that while she had plenty of runway work, she lost some big print contracts she had had. 

In the past few years we've seen the rise of Isis King and the Brazilian Lea T. who shot to global success as an open and out transgender model. But now in a recent article by Doug Barry for Jezebel, he notes that  as Rio gains fashion cred, transgender models may get lost in the shuffle, This is based on a documentary that explores the various tensions that currently surround race, gender and body type in Rio de Janeiro's burgeoning fashion industry. As the city sits poised like an extremely fashionable ocelot to become the fifth of the preeminent fashion metropolises, pressure to conform to a more global ideal of beauty could threaten transgender women such as model Leah T who've carved out a pretty large space for themselves in the industry.

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