Hari Nef Stands Up on Trans Issue You Not Ever Suspect

James H. Williams 

If you haven’t seen it yet, the recent issue of the semi-annual style magazine ‘Transversal’ C ★ NDY is probably the best and most touching issue to date. Featuring several famous faces of the transgender community on 10 different covers, the issue is edited by transgender model Hari Nef. In the issue, Nef stars alongside male model Andrés Velencoso in a romantic editorial photo by photographer Sebastián Faena. However, in an Instagram post of the model, Nef speaks out against the negative comments he has received from her.

But surprisingly, the reaction actually comes from the Nef community itself. “The only people whose unsolicited opinions matter to me are trans people and girls have responded to this editorial in a way that I think would be worth addressing,” she wrote in her caption. Nef goes on to explain the difference between her photo shoot with Velencoso and the way transgender women are usually photographed in fashion editorials. “Images of trans women being loved rarely exist outside of pornography,” Nef said. “We tend to become hypersexualized and objectified within the cisgender gaze. Either that or they dehumanize us as scum or untouchable goddesses (just as bad).”

Nef discussed this topic with Good in 2015, telling the interviewer that she was “asked to pull out her breasts at almost every job.”And the industry’s fascination with transbodies hasn’t gotten much better. Although the fashion industry has become more inclusive in some ways, it still represents minorities in an exploitative way. Actually, it has become too predictable for photographers and editors alike to fetishize “other” models. For example, the plus-size transgender model Shay Neary was usually photographed naked, because designers do not make clothes that fit her well, the stylist does not want to make extra efforts to find her, or simply the photographer wants her to be exposed.

And as Nef explains editorially in his post (also known as his work beyond film or television roles, especially his role in Transparent), a transgender model is finally presented simply as a model, without a trace of symbolism. After signing with IMG in 2015, it was clear that Nef was prepared for a brilliant and high-profile career. But her efforts to talk about trans issues prove that being a model really means more than just being a pretty face these days.

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