Givenchy, Tran and Freaks

Welcome to our 20th blog, a hung parliament and a political hangover. Blurgh. Let’s divert ourselves by looking at this glossy new advert for upmarket fashion house Givenchy:

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Question is: which one’s trans? Not the one with the long wavy hair. It’s the gorgeous specimen with bright red lips; Givenchy’s assistant, Lea T. I’ve seen non-photoshoot images of Lea and believe me she’s still smoking hot without the photoshop. I applaud Givenchy for highlighting the falsehood that all trans women look like burly builders in cheap party wigs. Though, of course, it’s OK to look like that too.

But hark – I have a message for you!

Prepare yourself. Capita, the company managing the census, ‘seriously wishes’ to recruit trans people in managerial and supervisory positions. No, they’re not tacky biographers, pornographers or tabloid photographers but they actually want you. Why? Apparently Capita want to do their best to:

“ensure representation across all strands because it will not only make the Census exercise representative of the local population in England and Wales, but will also assist in ensuring that all people are correctly enumerated”

The catch? Well… most the roles are physically demanding, involve working outside AND dealing with The General Public. Count me out…

But if you’re interested check out their website . They’re currently looking for area managers, but so far they’ve only had one application from The Trans Community. A high percentage then.

Last week I represented the Gender Trust in a team led by Trans Media Watch. Led, I might add, all the way down to Ofcom HQ. Guess what we did there? Had a cup of tea! And a lovely plus surprisingly productive chat about the delightful way trans people are portrayed in our nation’s broadcast media. Hopefully this is the beginning of a continuing dialogue with Ofcom; not least because they offered us free biscuits. And they had REALLY nice toilets, which I was actually rather loath to leave. You know; the sort which make you feel posh whilst wazzing in them. Having been brought up on a council estate in Nottingham I can honestly say I’ve seen people with smaller bathtubs than Ofcom’s ostentatious cerulean glass sinks. Fucking major league loos.

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TMW are a trans pressure group galvanised into existence by a particularly offensive episode of Moving Wallpaper last year. In that space of time they’ve got their website up and running, conducted some soon-to-be released research and organised the tea-party. They’re brilliant.

How nice! As is our NICE Award. This article isn’t about trans issues per se but it is one of many well-researched and well-thought out pieces written by recently out trans woman Jane Fae. Keep up the good work!

I know what you’re thinking: “When does the moaning start?” Soon…

The Thing I Am Pissed Off With At The Moment (TIAPOWATM – you’ll SO remember that) is the Ladyboys of Bangkok show, currently preparing to titillate punters in and . It should be noted that South Ayrshire’s council has banned pole dancing for being demeaning to women. But Lady Boy’s + erotic dancing = fine.

I’m suspicious. I’ve always questioned why friends in Brighton would be so eager to see the show. After all, it’s just a load of trans women dancing around. If you find it that amusing give me the £20 ticket money and I’ll do you an Irish jig…

Well, my friend got free tickets to see them. And (surprise, surprise) the audience was *composed* mainly of jeering larger louts shouting lines like: “Ooh isn’t she pretty!” in a decidedly piss-taking manner. The Lady Boy’s response? To occasionally lift up their skirts and flash the stash. The event was compeered by a dwarf.

I’m not too angry with the performers. Despite more liberal attitudes towards gender in Thailand it’s likely they’re subject to the same economic marginalisation trans women face globally. But I’m giving the Brighton Argus our STOP Award for advertisement article about the Lady Boy’s show. None of the Lady Boy’s are spoken to, yet the Argus has a good chat with the show’s pimp producer Phillip Gandey who refers to his dancing girls as ‘really’ being ‘men’.

Cultural differences aside, I just wish those Lady Boy’s would get some self respect and stop the freak show.

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Speaking of freak shows, (sorry; Art), Mark Quinn’s new exhibition features a collection of sculptures modelled on people with fascinating surgical enhancements, including pregnant man Thomas Beattie and transgender porn princess Allanah Starr. Micheal Jackson and Pamela Anderson also pop up. Quinn told the Guardian:

“I like the idea that if you left them in the desert and somebody found them in 5,000 years, it would probably tell them something about the society we live in now.”

I like that too. But what, exactly, would it tell them?

Paris Lees

(The views expressed within this blog are those of the author, and may not reflect those of the Gender Trust)

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