Tim Gunn 'Conflicted' About Trans Models

By Parker Marie Molloy

Originally published on Advocate.com February 25 2014 11:50 AM 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.

http://t.co/EXBkcYm72w Wow @TimGunn is at it again! Attacking the little diversity there is in fashion in support of diversity??? @HuffPost

— Andrej Pejic (@Andrej_Pejic) February 24, 2014

Don't you think @TimGunn that when a designer uses a transgender model they could be exploring an idea that's deeper then just...

— Andrej Pejic (@Andrej_Pejic) February 24, 2014

"this is how you need to look" perhaps they are exploring acceptance, expanding the idea of beauty and challenging the gender binary!

— Andrej Pejic (@Andrej_Pejic) February 24, 2014

And for ur info I happen to have a female type pelvis :) #itspossible #ifthateverfuckingmattered @TimGunn @rebeccadamss @HuffingtonPost

— Andrej Pejic (@Andrej_Pejic) February 24, 2014

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.

Is Tim Gunn so disconnected from reality that he doesn't see how vastly different models already are from the average person's body

— Zinnia Elle Jones (@ZJemptv) February 24, 2014

There's no way a LOT of people can "project themselves" into models wearing clothes AS IS. This is not a trans issue

— Zinnia Elle Jones (@ZJemptv) February 24, 2014

"You still have the anatomical bone structure of a man." Uh yeah it's not like these things called "puberty blockers" have been invented

— Zinnia Elle Jones (@ZJemptv) February 24, 2014

Know how many rail-thin cis woman models have had their "pelvis broken and having it expanded surgically"? Um, how about NONE?

— Zinnia Elle Jones (@ZJemptv) February 24, 2014

Really weird how this whole "bone structure" essentialism keeps cropping up lately. It comes up with trans people in sports, now this.

— Zinnia Elle Jones (@ZJemptv) February 24, 2014

I have wide hips despite being designated male at birth. But even if i didnt there is nothing inherently masculine about my damn skeleton.

— Kat Haché (@papierhache) February 24, 2014

Contributor: 
Parker Marie Molloy
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