Tim Gunn 'Conflicted' About Trans Models

Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn says he's 'conflicted' about the inclusion of transgender models in fashion campaigns, citing bone structure.

BY Parker Marie Molloy

February 25 2014 12:50 PM ET

In a Huffington Post, interview published Monday, Tim Gunn admitted that he feels "conflicted" about the concept of transgender models. He was responding to a question about a recent campaign from Barneys New York, which features several transgender models.

"The fact that fashion designers would put basically adolescent-shaped boys or men in women's clothes is head-scratching for me because, anatomically, women and men have different shapes," the Project Runway star told HuffPo. "So, to be looking at women's fashion on a tall, skinny guy with no hips, there's no way you can project yourself into those clothes."

Gunn later told the interviewer, "I'm conflicted. On one hand, I don't want to say that because you were a man and now you're a woman, you can't be in a women's fashion show. But I feel it's a dicey issue. The fact of the matter is, when you are transgender — if you go, say, male to female — you're not having your pelvis broken and having it expanded surgically. You still have the anatomical bone structure of a man."

In response, transgender model Andrej Pejic fired off a string of rebuttals to Gunn's statement via Twitter, accusing him of "attacking the little diversity there is in fashion" and decrying Gunn's seemingly flippant dismissal of transgender models. Pejic argued that trans models deserve a fair shot in the industry.

Several transgender advocates added their voices, including trans writers Kat Haché and Lauren McNamara, calling Gunn's statement "bone structure essentialism," a binary argument often used by those who don't want to allow trans people to compete in sports.

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