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Naked trans women calendar showcases beauty and ‘fantasy’

Naked trans women calendar showcases beauty and ‘fantasy’

The models in the Fantasy 2019 calendar from Rain Valdez

Many people were dismayed when an executive at lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret recently said trans women had no place on their runway.

‘Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,’ said marketing office Ed Razek. ‘Why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.’

Razel later apologized for the comments via Twitter, but many were stung by his words. This included Rain Valdez.

Trans actress and filmmaker Rain Valdez
Actress and filmmaker Rain Valdez (Photo: Supplied)

Valdez is an out and proud trans actress and award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She played ‘Coco’ in season 2 of TV Land’s Lopez and Miss Van Nuys in Amazon’s Transparent. She also works as a producer on the latter show.

Valdez and her production company, Now More Than Ever, are currently producing a web series called Razor Tongue. Written by and starring Valdez, it will premiere next year.

In response to the comments from the Victoria’s Secret executive, Valdez, along with Now More Than Ever’s Kellen Quinn and Alessandro Nori, came up with a new, annual calendar featuring ‘multicultural women of transgender experience.’

According to a statement, ‘each woman will cover a month, owning what fantasy means to them.’

Activist Blossom Brown - Fantasy 2019 calendar
Activist Blossom Brown (Photo: Now More Than Ever)

‘Love and desirability in our lives’

Valdez told Gay Star News how the idea came up.

‘My artistic message as an actress and filmmaker has always been to shift the narrative from the shame and stigma associated with our experience to a more loving and accepting culture, because we do have a lot of love and desirability in our lives,’ she says.

‘But I realized there is not enough content and product to reflect that. So, my producing partner Kellen Joseph and I came up with the idea of a calendar.

‘Cisgender bodies, men and women have been celebrated for decades and through that, body ideals were created. But trans bodies have not been celebrated until now. Putting our bodies in something as mainstream as a calendar is a celebration of our existence.

‘The calendar will feature quotes from the women on what fantasy means to them. We also customized the calendar grid to highlight important dates within our LGBTQ history.’

A portion of the proceeds from the Fantasy 2019 calendar will benefit the Trans Latina Coalition.

The models, including actresses Trace Lysette (Transparent, Midnight Texas), Cassandra James (General Hospital), DJ Lina Bradford and author Rosalyne Blumenstein, among others, all photographed naked.

An image from the Fantasy 2019 calendar showcasing trans women beauty
Trace Lysette, actress from Transparent and Midnight Texas (Photo: Now More Than Ever)

‘Being out means some days you pass and some days you don’t’

Often, when creatives showcase trans beauty they concentrate on people who ‘pass’ for being cis. Valdez is quick to answer any such criticism.

‘We wanted to reflect body diversity, age diversity, and ethnic diversity, so we reached out to a list of our first choices. I’m happy to say we got most of them. The theme of the calendar is a throwback to 90’s supermodels that were photographed in black and white, with implied nudity.

‘People may look at the calendar and say, “Oh, but they’re all passing”. I think passing is such an archaic term and a product of heteronormativity. All the women featured in the calendar are out and proud trans women, and being out means some days you pass and some days you don’t, in a heteronormative world.

‘What trans people do with their bodies is a matter of preference, nothing is required or demanded, it’s the same for cisgender women. So the idea of passing suggests that there is some threshold to reach.

DJ Lina Bradford
DJ Lina Bradford (Photo: Now More Than Ever)

‘The only thing we are trying to reach as trans women is our authenticity. If you can reach that, regardless of what you do with your body, then that is a result of your dreams and fantasies coming true.

‘The calendar is called The Fantasy because if anyone knows the power of fantasy, it is trans people. Without fantasy there may not be understanding between my then, my now and my future. Because I fantasized a future for myself, it helped me become the hardworking woman I am today.’

The calendar is available from Now More Than Ever.

See also

Boy George sheds tears in striking, new Culture Club video

YouTuber Nikita Dragun drags Victoria’s Secret for not casting trans models 

Laverne Cox surprises trans man who’s never met another openly trans person before