Earlier this year, British lad mag FHM named transgender model Andrej Pejic as one of its 100 Sexiest Women in the World. And then! When the mag found out that “she” was actually biologically a “he,” they quickly rescinded the honor — with nasty words to boot. In a statement that was later taken off the magazine’s site (but screen-captured by blogger Alicia Swann), FHM refers to Pejic as a “thing” and says that they’d like to “pass the sick bucket” for their mistake.
Although his sexual identity is ambiguous, designers are hailing him as the next big thing. We think “thing” is quite accurate. [...] The blonde gender-bender has jumped the gun in hoping he might one day be signed as a Victoria’s Secret Model (pass the sick bucket). Well, he might have a hard time keeping it a secret then.
More troubling is the fact that Andrej is not the only one when it comes to supermodels that are not all they seem. The current face of Givenchy and “lady” locking lips with Kate Moss on the cover of Love magazine is transgender model Lea T. who began life as Leandro. One fashion trend we won’t be following.
This sort of transphobia is nothing new. We’re used to stories — like that of murdered teen Brandon Teena — of transgender people being punished for passing as the opposite gender. It’s not the passing that’s the problem for the boys over at FHM it’s that they found Pejic so damn attractive that now they’re questioning their own sexuality. And therein lies the rub. FHM’s lad mag scholars are mad at Andrej Pejic not because of who or what he is, but because of what that says about them. That their attraction to Pejic’s face and form might make them maybe a little gay? Of course, that’s a rather rudimentary understanding of sexuality and gender — and utterly not true — but it’s sadly a pretty typical stance of men who are insecure with their sexuality and threatened by anything different, new or challenging to basic heteronormativity.
This all goes without saying that of course, if FHM took a bit more time understanding sexuality and a bit less time objectifying, they might be better equipped to realize that Andrej Pejic’s body isn’t a “thing,” but a sight of beauty and grace — one that they could learn to proudly admire and embrace.