Trans Model in French Vogue

I had a friend do a translation of the text that accompanies the photo:

Lea, Born Again.

New top model alert: in this fall’s Givenchy campaign, Lea is standing, in feathers, close to Mariacarla, Malgosia and Joan Smalls.  With hollow cheeks and faded eyebrows, she exudes a beauty that is regal, detached, retro, and androgynous, something between Greta Garbo and Candy Darling.  Lea T., the sensation of fall 2010, is the new star of the agency Women.  A woman to be [or possibly “a woman in the process of becoming”], born Leo, she decided to tame life in high heels.  Originally from Belo Horizonte, she grew up a well-educated boy in both Brazil and Italy, in a respected Catholic family.  With two sisters and a brother, Leo was destined for a career in veterinary medicine, up to the day when Lea appeared:  “I met Riccardo Tisci, who had just come out of Central Saint Martins (College of Art and Design).  Little by little, we became friends.  And, one night, he encouraged me to wear high heels to a party.  We went to buy drag queen shoes and also bleached my eyebrows.  It was a revelation.”  Lea followed her pygmalion/mentor to Givenchy in Paris and worked there as his assistant, confidante, and fitting model for two seasons.  Back in Milan, she decided to start her physical metamorphosis, a treatment that was met with public prejudice and immense familial unease.  “It was like a war inside my head,” she says.  From Paris, Riccardo followed the ups and downs of the change.  He offered help and “one day, he called to ask me to pose for a Mert & Marcus ad.”  Lea accepted in the name of all her transsexual friends, a standard bearer for their cause, and “especially proud of her friendship with Riccardo.”  Since that ad campaign, casting and interview offers rain on Piero Piazzi, Lea’s agent at Women, “another of my guardian angels.”  Lea, with disarming simplicity, explains that she is waiting for the definitive intervention that will liberate her femininity, “as soon as the papers are finalized.”  She is open to her future, be it on the runway, or perhaps in the fashion studio/workshop, or back home, her true birthplace, Brazil.

I think it’s cool, & I’m glad she did it, though I know some of you are burnt out on people using trans bodies as this week’s shock factor. I don’t think this one is doing that, even though it’s confrontational because she’s looking right at you, the viewer. It’s impossible not to see her as a person (unless you’re the kind of person who dehumanizes any naked woman). Thoughts?

More Like Lavender

Here’s a cool article against gender essentialism by the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain:

Yes, boys and girls, men and women, are different. But most of those differences are far smaller than the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stereotypes suggest. Nor are the reasoning, speaking, computing, empathising, navigating and other cognitive differences fixed in the genetic architecture of our brains. All such skills are learned, and neuro-plasticity – the modification of neurons and their connections in response to experience – trumps hard-wiring every time. If men and women tend towards different strengths and interests, it is due to a complex developmental dance between nature and nurture that leaves ample room to promote non-traditional skills in both sexes.

For the record, this idea is echoed by all sorts of gender types, including myself, but the most interesting evidence is in Hyde’s Gender Similarities Hypothesis (pdf).

Two Tune Tuesday: Sly & the Family Stone

After James Brown, their tracks have to be the most heavily sampled; some of you, I bet, will know snippets of melody from some other song. I’m regularly disappointed when I hear a Sly Stone riff and it turns out to be some song I’ve never heard and not the original.

“A pretty face / a pretty face / & oh what a gorgeous mind…”

Incipito Inception

Inception is a cool, cool movie – meaty enough for someone who prefers novels – there are moments you actually feel lost in its world(s) – and yet has all sorts of chase scenes, gun battles, & explosions.

Six Degrees of Buster Keaton: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a fan, and there are moments that’s very apparent.

Fans of Twilight Zone, or District 9, or the now-mostly-forgotten Zentropa will like it, if not love it. & Honestly, it’s the only movie I’ve seen where everyone is attractive or talented or both.

& Six Degrees of Trans: Cillian Murphy played Kitten Braden in Breakfast on Pluto.

Upcoming Moving Day

My posts will probably be a little erratic for the next month or so; we are once again living in an apartment littered with boxes. For those who don’t know, I/we’ve been living in university housing while I’ve been teaching here, and we need to move into our own place for this coming year. We found a great, great apartment, & we’re excited about having enough space, & a cool view, stairs, and enough room for us both to have an office/work area and enough closets & storage. It’s like a pipe dream for NYers. (That’s our future living room you’re looking at, if you hadn’t figured that out yet.)

That said, moving also means living with boxes; it means lists and logistics. We’re moving not only the apartment we currently live in here in Appleton into the new place, but we’re going home to Brooklyn to move our tons of stuff from there to here. August in NYC is not when you want to move stuff out of a third floor walk-up, especially when most of that “stuff” will be book boxes. But it will be moved: just don’t expect so much from me for a while.

If you hear of any interesting gender stories or articles, feel free to forward so I can at least put up some links.

Breeching the Girls

Aha! Finally, an explanation that makes sense:

Just as boys were once clothed in dresses, they were also once swaddled in pink. Historically, in many European countries, pink was the dominant color for boys, and blue—the official hue of the Virgin Mary—was the popular girls’ color. (emphasis mine)

which appears in an article by Brian Palmer at Slate about gendered clothing for young children, and whether or not Shiloh isn’t just a trendsetter (or retro, depending).

(Which forces me to admit: I was surprised the author of the article is male. Ah, gendered expectations always bite in the end.)


On this, our 9th wedding anniversary, I’d love to hear from couples about a question I’ve been pondering: what do you do when you have an interest/love/hobby that your partner doens’t share?

I love live music, for instance, & public gatherings, & Rachel likes neither. She likes football & Rush. I’ve generally found people to go see music with, & to attend parades, pride events, &c., although I’m starting from scratch with making friends out here in Wisconsin, which is why it’s come up.

So do you:

  1. tend to not do the thing you like
  2. tend to drag the person who doesn’t like it along
  3. or do you just do your own things, & then come together to do the things you do both like together?

As maybe everyone knows at this point, I feel “dragged along” – even if I haven’t gone anywhere – when she watches football at home. In the small apartments we’ve lived in, I don’t have much escape unless I want to go somewhere else for a few hours.

So I’m curious, & waiting to hear what kinds of solutions all you creative, coupled types have come up with.