Friday, July 30, 2010

Bodies electric

The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward
toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the
marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of
the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

--I Sing the Body Electric, Walt Whitman

Lea T Face

Last May, stories started circulating about Givenchy employing a transsexual model for its fall campaign. The said model was revealed to be Lea T (in the pic above) who is currently generating a lot of internet buzz for her appearance in the August 2010 edition of French Vogue.

Lea is Brazilian and is managed by WomenManagement. She used to work for Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci as his personal assistant and fitting model and is now being touted as Tisci's muse for embodying the androgyny that Givenchy is supposedly known for.
Lea T censored

I do not know about you, but Lea T does not look androgynous to me. She looks all woman. This PR spin is just part of the media blitz for Givenchy. It along with her French Vogue profile (see above) which shows her naked has managed to catapult her to the world's attention. I love the bold approach--no pun intended--that Lea T is taking to steer her new-found career as a fashion model. I hope that her story will be used to show the world the beauty and diversity of transsexual bodies, human bodies. I am sure that it will inspire a lot of transphobia as well. Already, news stories are coming out that Lea T is getting ready for genital reconstruction surgery (GRS) as if to assure the public that her body in French Vogue is just temporary, an invalid body to be in.

Thomas Beatie 2

This reminds me of the backlash that Thomas Beatie, the pregnant transman, (see pic above) received when he started using the media for his "bodily" outing as well.
But there are millions of transpeople like Thomas Beatie and Lea T and it is time for the world to get used to human bodies like theirs.

Thomas Beatie 1

One of the reasons why I cheered Thomas Beatie was because of the powerful images he showed the world that have never been seen before. I especially find unforgettable the pic of him above. As sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) advocates, sensitizing society to the idea of sexual and gender diversity means sensitizing them to the idea of bodily integrity as well--the idea that our bodies belong to us and that only we have the right to make choices for and about our bodies including choices on who to have sexual relations with and reshaping our bodies in accordance with the gender we see ourselves as. I hope that Lea T's French Vogue story will be used to drive home the very idea behind this fundamental human right.

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