Trans inclusivity now!
This afternoon, February 15, trans activist group Transmissions (myself included) took to the Strand in front of the assembled LFW crowds to call for trans inclusivity in the fashion industry – and we did it in spectacular style. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill protest. Transmissions put their message across the only way they know how: by turning lewks and strutting their gender-nonconforming bodies up and down the Strand.
A cast of queer models and activists, including Lewis G Burton and Elijah Che, led by horned goddess and mother of Transmissions Lucia Blake, carried signs sprayed with declarations like “fuck your all-cis runway” and “trans inclusivity now”. The show made it clear that they are calling for representation of trans people in fashion that goes beyond tokenism.
Speaking to Lucia, she called for “more diverse and meaningful representation,” and an acknowledgement that trans people “aren’t just trends or controversial gimmicks.” For her this means “non-passing trans women fronting editorials”, and starring in “perfume ads with stubble and broad shoulders, falling in love in Paris because they deserve to be loved too.” Trans people’s validity should never be based on how well they pass.
For the Transmissions group, getting trans people on runways and in magazines en masse is about more than just making the fashion industry more inclusive. As she puts it, “the fashion industry decides what bodies are normal and which ones are not,” making it the perfect tool for changing society’s attitudes towards trans bodies.
Lucia notes that there are designers like Gypsy Sport, Charles Jeffrey and Art School, whose trans inclusion goes beyond that of the rest of the industry, putting trans people very much at the forefront of their work. Art School and Josephine Jones, whose AW19 presentation this evening (February 15) will be shown with an all-trans cast, are both involved with Transmissions on this campaign, calling on the rest of the fashion industry to show similar commitment to representing trans people across the industry. While SS19 was fashion’s most gender-inclusive season to date, trans casting still only made up 1.23% of total castings (with Dazed cover star Hunter Schafer herself accounting for over a fifth of those places), which shows just how far there is left to go.
Ultimately, the Transmissions campaign is about moving away from trans inclusion in the fashion industry being reliant on a few big names, and towards a genuinely inclusive industry that involves trans people on a much larger scale. It’s 2019 and some of the biggest names in the industry are trans – why shouldn’t we have runways with multiple trans people on them every fashion week?
Transmissions’ Trans Inclusive Fashion campaign continues on Saturday 16 with their Fashion Week Party with Art School at VFD, and Munroe Bergdorf in Conversation with Lucia Blake on Monday 18 at Toynbee Studios