Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated Levy worked as a clothing designer for Pose, but a spokeswoman for the show says he does not.
Abraham David Levy's history of working as a fashion designer for prominent members of the LGBT community did not stop him from misgendering trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston on Tuesday.
The online spat occurred after Preston chastised RuPaul on Facebook for neglecting to acknowledge Pose, which features transgender talent in front of and behind the camera. Levy -- who worked on the costumes for seasons 9 and 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race -- responded angrily to Preston's post, calling her a "guy." When someone pointed out Preston is, in fact, female, Levy wrote: "I've decided Ashlee is a man, end of conversation. Period."
Preston's critique responds to past claims speculating RuPaul's attitude toward the trans community, which were especially prevalent after a controversial interview done with The Guardian, in which he said that he would "probably not" let a trans woman compete on RuPaul's Drag Race.
Preston said that RuPaul's failure to publicly acknowledge Pose for the significance it has already played in LGBT media "confirms what the trans community already knew" in regards to RuPaul's feelings toward the trans community. Her social media posts, which also came in the form of tweets, received support from those involved with the show, such as when series co-creator Steven Canals responded to Preston's post with the Facebook comment "facts are facts," and series star Indya Moore "liked" Preston's original tweet.
Levy's misgendering of Preston was met with a windfall of backlash, including a heated Facebook response from Preston herself, who wrote, "How can Abraham David Levy misgender me as a trans woman AND made costume for Pose on FX? If you're going to be a transphobe at LEAST be one who doesn't rely on the trans community to feed you, pay your rent or keep your lights on."
Preston was responding to Levy's Instagram profile, which claims his designs appeared on Pose. "One of the judges that appeared in an episode wore something that was designed by him that had been in her wardrobe previously," Lana Kim, FX's VP of Media Relations, tells The Advocate. "He did not design anything specifically for the show."
Preston added to her earlier sentiments in a statement to The Advocate: "I want to say that Abraham David Levy's blatant attack on my gender identity is shocking-- but in all actuality he unapologetically exhibited the micro/macro aggressions trans people have been receiving from the 'gay elite' for generations. What I was surprised and touched by was the drag community immediately jumping behind trans women and confronting him and RuPaul for the undercurrent of transphobia in the scene."
Levy defended his comment in a post on Facebook, writing that, "While defending Ru and the trans community, I posted "he" has no clue as to what he's talking about. (Not noticing it was a woman who wrote the thread.)"
Levy reiterated his defense in a statement to The Advocate, writing: "I had no idea who wrote the thread, so when I commented on the post, I was ONE- defending Rupaul 2- I was defending the trans community. Before I could change my comment, I had a total of three people trying to correct me. I was beyond furious and I committed "Allie (sic) is a he and that's that . Period." I have a sick sense of humor and that's offensive to a few. I had no idea whom or what Allie is , apparently it has offended many and for that I'm sorry. BUT IM NOT PHOBIC, I work with many trans women and I love them like my sisters. I even named a corset after one of my beauties. I also had no idea I'm now famous, I guess this comes with the package."
Preston expressed that she was prepared to continue defending her stance, despite Levy's responses.
"What he did by misgendering a trans person as a 'business entity' is illegal in the state of New York," Preston told The Advocate."It's a conversation I'm prepared to expound on in the coming days."