Katie Abson recounts Teddy Quinlivan, Alexandra Grey and Trace Lysette’s Instagram live with Out Magazine.
Last night, Out Magazine hosted an Instagram live with cover girl Alexandra Grey and panellists supermodel Teddy Quinlivan and actress and recording artist Trace Lysette, where they discussed International Transgender Day of Visibility and the importance of transgender visibility in the fashion and entertainment industry.
Out staff writer Mey Rude moderated the Instagram live, where she began by introducing each of the panellists and asking what Trans Day of Visibility means to them. “Today means resilience,” Lysette said.
Quinlivan recounted her experience as a young transgender model after she was discovered by Louis Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015. Quinlivan said that modelling came as a surprise to her, as there weren’t many doors open to trans people at that time. In an exclusive with CNN Style, Quinlivan disclosed her transgender identity for the first time in 2017. In the Instagram live, she reflected on why she kept her identity hidden prior to the interview; she feared she wouldn’t be able to sustain a career if members of the industry found out. It wasn’t until Donald Trump was elected in 2016 that “sounded the alarm” for her. “Our bodies have become political”, she said, then continued to discuss how important it was for her to be “out and proud” in that particular political climate.
Rude moved the topic onto relationships, asking the women to relate their experiences around each of their dating histories. “For my own safety, I used to not tell people,” Lysette said. The negative stigma and prejudice often projected onto transgender women surround the idea that “we’re predatorial gay men dressed as women in order to gain attention.” Lysette proposed a solution: “If men can own up to being attracted to trans women specifically, it can create change like no other.”
On February 19th of this year, The Oscars released their chosen shortlists for each of the nine categories featured in the Acadamy Awards. Disclosure, a Netflix original documentary directed and produced by Sam Feder, was not featured. The documentary gives an unprecedented account of the lives of transgender creatives and their depictions of working in film and television. “I’m so moved by it,” Grey said, but was not surprised by the little recognition it received.
Quinlivan explained that often transgender stories are “snubbed” unless the characters are played by A-list actors who pretend to be transgender. “It is a direct critic of the industry itself,” she expressed, further stating that the industry is full of “people refusing to take accountability of their part in creating a transphobic society.”
Grey agreed wholeheartedly, adding: “we can’t get nominated for roles that aren’t there.”
Lysette further commented on how she was “surprised she got Hustlers,” a movie directed by Lorene Scafaria and released in 2019, “especially because it was not trans-specific.” Yet, despite her surprise, “it made me hopeful.”
The women discussed how they celebrate their trans identities for the unique way they get to see the world. They were asked if they had any advice for young transgender people wanting to start their career in the fashion and entertainment industry, to which they replied:
“Dream big,” and “do the work,” – Alexandra Grey.
“Understand the value of investing yourself,” – Trace Lysette.
“Be exceptional in what you do,” – Teddy Quinlivan.
You can watch the full Instagram live here: