Words Sille Ugelvig
A development has been underway on catwalks in recent years. The beauty of androgyny, and of transgender models, has found its way to the fashion industry. But increased diversity shouldn’t just be a seasonal trend. The modeling industry still has long ways to go in its politics.
May Simon, 22, is one of the few transgender models in Denmark making a living from modeling. Signed by the Danish agency Le Management, May doesn’t think the industry has reached the goal of gender fluidity just yet.
“I don’t feel that a transgender model can work as successfully, nor be taken as seriously as any cisgender girl is. Somehow it feels like it is still considered a political statement anytime someone outside the binary is booked for any given job, and to me that defeats the purpose of gender-diverse casting. As soon as I feel like I am not doing a job where the client does not give any extra thought to how it exposes his brand, I’ll let y’all know!”
May has been modelling since she was 16 years old, and believes that a rich, diverse fashion industry is necessary for the world. “Fashion reflects society. It is a platform on which people seek to find inspiration as to how they want to portray themselves through clothes. I think the fashion platform should be used to celebrate all aspects of life. That way people can find inspiration in a place that includes all, and lets everybody find a role model, one who reflects how to overcome whichever obstacle people might be dealing with.”
In Denmark, the number of professional transgender models is still very low, yet the industry is showing increasing openness for a more diverse image than before. “But like any other revolutionary thought, I guess, gender fluidity needs to be overexposed before it can be integrated as something natural,” May says.
While at present a clever marketing tool, gender fluidity on the catwalk must move beyond its status as a trend to actually provide opportunities for non-binary models.