Five Must-See Videos to Celebrate Transgender Icon Candy Darling’s Birthday

Now a prized fixture of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, Candy Darling, originally nicknamed “Hope Slattery,” was way ahead of her time, pioneering a gender-fluid movement decades before the nation was ready to accept such identities in the way it does today.

“There is one thing I must tell you because I just found it to be a truth,” Darling famously said. “You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.” Though these words would’ve been viewed as rebellious in the distant days Darling stormed NYC streets in stilettos, in 2015 they sound wonderfully relevant—a subtle testament to the cultural impact of this underground superstar.

To celebrate Darling’s birthday—she would’ve been 71, today—we’ve compiled our favorite videos, all featuring the trans trailblazer.

Candy Darling in Flesh:

 Andy Warhol and Candy Darling Interview:

Candy Darling at the Whitney Museum:

Candy Warhol in Women in Revolt:

Candy Darling sings 1928’s “Ramona:”

John Oliver Calls Out Ignorance in the Media in His Poignant Segment on Transgender Rights

John Oliver

Coming off the heels of Pride month, we can agree that individuals like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have brought a huge spike in visibility to transgender activism, but that’s a very small slice of a population comprised of approximately 700,000 Americans. “That’s more than the population of Boston. And you probably know somebody from Boston.” John Oliver said in a recent segment on Last Week Tonight delineating the constant struggles the “Ts” in LGBT still face daily, despite the bump in exposure. He continued,

“We’re weirdly comfortable celebrating transgender people while simultaneously dehumanizing them at the DMV, pinning awards to them as we drum them out of the military, and constantly quizzing them about their genitals.”

In the 16-minute segment, Oliver discusses the cases of Kristen Skinner and Trudy Kitzmiller, two transgender women who were harassed at a DMV in West Virginia, Captain Jacob Eleazer, who was awarded an army commendation medal before they tried to kick him out, and several interviews with the likes of Carmen Carrera, Laverne Cox and others who are constantly asked about their genitalia. He calls out the ignorance of the media and the government when it comes to transgender rights, and urges viewers not to be caught on the wrong side of history. “There’s not a stamp featuring George Wallace at the schoolhouse door.”

Watch the full segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver below:

Caitlyn Jenner’s Transition is Doing Great Things for the Transgender Population

Caitlyn Jenner

Photo via

When Caitlyn Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer a little over a month ago, the world got a peek into the transgender experience in an informed, thoughtful and sensitive manner. Hopeful that this would pave the way for acceptance and cultural change, it turns out it has.

Barnard College, one of the oldest collegiate institutions dedicated to educating women, is one of the many sex-restricted colleges that controversially denies admission to trans women. The policy, which has recently been overturned at similar institutions like Mt. Holyoke and Bryn Mawr, may dissipate next week based on a vote by the trustees. And in an unexpected turn of events, Caitlyn Jenner may be who to thank.

Jennifer Finney Boylan, a trans woman who teaches at Barnard, told the AP that mainstream representations of transgender individuals, from the Caitlyn Jenner interview to Laverne Cox on Orange is the New Black, promotes these issues in even the most traditional institutions.

Let’s hope Barnard will extend admission to those who identify as women, and that more exposure from the likes of Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and others will pave the way for better protection of trans individuals under the law and a more sophisticated view of gender in our collective culture.

Watch Vanity Fair behind-the-scenes with Caitlyn Jenner below:

Philip-Lorca diCorcia Depicts L.A.’s Gritty Glamour with Trans Artist Zackary Drucker and Model Daisy Clementine

Photographed by Philip-Lorca diCorcia for BlackBook Magazine, Spring 2015. Styled by Anne Christensen.

Beautiful As The Day Is Long

From night at the Palace to afternoon in a mysterious Venice alley, the gritty glamour of L.A. serves as a backdrop to this enigmatic game of hide-and-seek. At the story’s end, model Daisy and transgender performance artist Zackary reunite in a single morphed portrait.

Left: Burberry coat. Right: Calvin Klein dress and shoes

Narcisco Rodriguez top and skirt

Miu Miu coat, top, skirt, belt, and shoes

Proenza Schouler dress; vintage shoes

Marc Jacobs dress and shoes

Salvatore Ferragamo dress; Dolce & Gabbana shoes

Rodarte dress and shoes

Dior coats and top

Models: Daisy @ Next Management L.A.; Zackary Drucker
Hair: Jamal Hammadi
Makeup: Ozzy Salvatierra
Production: Jill Roy
Special thanks to the Ace Hotel, Downtown L.A.


Andreja Pejic’s 5 Most Beautiful Moments

Photo: David X Prutting/

Andreja Pejic has been a hot topic of fashion since she was Andrej — the model’s gorgeous (and previously androgynous) looks have garnered her attention, campaigns, and runway since she was first scouted. The recent completion of Pejic’s gender confirmation surgery is happy news for the model. It’s happy news, too, for Make Up For Ever, who just confirmed Pejic as a new face of its brand. This makes Pejic one of the first transgender models to book a major beauty campaign.

In celebration of Andreja Pejic becoming a face of Make Up For Ever, we’re rounding up the model’s most beautiful moments.

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Photo: Aria Isadora/

Photo: David X Prutting/

Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky/

Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky/


Get up on This Fashion News before You Leave for the Weekend

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Models: Out of Work Forever?


First Joan Didion for Celine, now Joni Mitchell has been revealed as the star of Saint Laurent’s new campaign. Let’s first take a moment to applaud the use of older women as campaign models. I love that, and hope that, if fashion can embrace women at any age, then Hollywood might be next. I’m just a little bit concerned for the bank accounts of models everywhere.

HRC Takes on Saks Fifth Ave

The HRC has suspended Saks Fifth Avenue from their CEI (Corporate Equality Index) in response to Saks’ insensitive handling of a lawsuit brought forth by a transgender employee.

Leyth Jamal, a former employee of Saks, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming she had been discriminated against, harassed, and subject to a hostile work environment based on her gender identity.

The department store argued in court that the suit should be dismissed because “transsexuals are not a protected class under Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Tiffany’s New Same-Sex Ad Campaign Makes Us Happy


Because same-sex couples get engaged too.

Public School Wins the Woolmark Prize

Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, designers of Public School, are winning all the awards. 

Koons, The Koons, and Me: An Encounter with the Art Star Jeff Koons

On Sunday, I sat for some portraits by my photographer friend Matthew Morroco. His signature move is to enter the frame with his subjects, then spoon them. Mid-embrace, I told Matthew I was heading to the Whitney later in the week for the H&M-sponsored celebration of the opening of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective. Michael winced, but didn’t blink.

“I’m assuming you hate him?”

The truth is, I didn’t know.

Jeff Koons’s reputation precedes him: an artist many times bigger than life with an historically personal brand. His mention elicits the rare sort of eye roll and wan smile reserved for the richest, most earnest, most flamboyant celebrities. Kim Kardashian earns them, as does her husband. They’ve crept up on Marina Abramović and Tilda Swinton after years of more solemn adoration. Lady Gaga holds at least a 35% stake in eye rolling and wan smiling.

Upon further reflection, Matthew’s question led me back to what I consider my first ever Koons opening: the album release party for Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Undeterred by accountants or questions of ROI on an album yet to drop, Mother Monster filled the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a platoon of Koons monuments commissioned for the event. Eager to rankle the atmosphere–though still unsure why–I drained a plastic cup of champagne and abandoned it on one of the display pedestals.

Screen shot 2014-06-26 at 2.56.31 PM

It was mean! It was nasty too. If it was funny, it wasn’t because I was saying any kind of meaningful “Fuck You” to Gaga, or even Koons. My clear plastic stink bomb was funny because it was useless: a tiny dent on the hood of an extraordinary machine. When a fan video surfaced of Lady Gaga, mid-performance, plucking a used plastic cup rather triumphantly off one of the sculptures, I wasn’t sure whether I’d won or lost.

That’s the thing about Gaga, and especially Koons: no matter how hard you want him to work for you, he’s always working a little harder for himself. As my girlfriend Brandon Serpas, a Whitney intern, walked me through the galleries last night, the psychic tug of war going on between The Koons and Me began to feel very much like some kind of foreplay. For every charming, Cliffordesque balloon dog he laid at my feet, he doubled down with a closeup of his dick sliding into an Italian porn star (at that point, one remembers the dogs go for $60 million). Making one’s way through Koons: A Retrospective is to get hot, then bothered, then both. Three plastic cups of prosecco didn’t help much.

But then, there He is, or was.

Beaming, suited, politely shrouded by a gaggle of onlookers: the Man himself.

Finally, a chance to make up my mind.

I whipped out my iPhone and scrolled over to Voice Memos, and pounced:

How do you feel about making new work in light of having exhibited a retrospective at the Whitney Museum?

Koons: It’s always about becoming, and following your interests. That’s a pursuit you have your whole life. I look forward to continuing to make work until, eventually, I leave this place. But that’s what you look forward to every morning: to experience the highest state of enlightenment you think is possible.

What is your estimate for the number of #KOONSSELFIES that will be taken tonight?

Koons: I really have no idea. There could be a thousand.

That’s a good number. What your favorite color?

Koons: Blue.

What’s Lady Gaga’s favorite color?

Koons: I couldn’t tell you exactly. I think she enjoys a lot of colors. I see her wear white a lot. She seems to enjoy white.

How do you feel about the Transgender Movement?

Koons: It’s fantastic. People should be able to experience life the way they’d like to. It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful.

I thanked him, and then I asked him for a selfie. He obliged:

Screen shot 2014-06-26 at 2.58.18 PM

He was nice: positive, professional, maybe a little curt (I’ve heard he used to work on Wall Street). His testimony taught me nothing I couldn’t have Googled or asked my dad. The same might be said for some of his work. But then, suddenly, one remembers the scale of things: the million dollar art and the billion dollar man. Everyone’s famous now, so it’s crushing and kinda hot to behold a Man & Work combo so utterly, historically, analogically massive—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

And yet, as I hobbled away from Jeff Koons and peered up into a colossal stainless steel party balloon, I saw myself–and only myself–at the center of whatever I’d come uptown to see.

I dug my phone back out of my wallet to check the #KOONSSELFIE tag on Instagram.

There were 12.

photo 2 photo 1 photo 4

Hari Nef is an actress and writer living in New York City.

Azealia Banks Calls Perez Hilton A Faggot, Janet Mock Jumps In, Shitshow Ensues

Last week the Internet rolled its eyes at rappers Azealia Banks and Angel Haze and their sparring diss tracks. Kids today! In short order, Perez Hilton interjected himself into the debate and Banks lashed out, calling the openly gay blogger a "faggot" and asking him "does your butthole whistle?"

It seems like Banks was simply provoked by some finger-wagging posts published on Perez Hilton which chastised the two women for their "bickering" and "beef." 

Banks responded with tweets — which looks like it has been deleted:

@PerezHilton does your butthole whistle? Like is your butthole so stretched and raggedy the air whistles when you move?"

And then:

"omg u should just kill yourself… Like for real. lol what a messy f–got you are."

When other Twitter users rightly freaked out on Banks for her use of gay slurs, she got defensive and bullshitty, claiming that "faggot" isn’t really a gay slur. It’s a slightly-more-okay-somehow sexist slur!  She tweeted:  

She eventually apologized … sort of … but not really:

That could have been the end of it, maybe, save for more tweets for Banks licking her wounds.

But then Janet Mock, a former editor at People and a trans woman, jumped in with her own critique which made really good points yet stirred the pot even more (for some Twitter users, at least):

Mock also retweeted a fellow black feminist who agreed with her:

But she got a lot of pushback on Twitter from users accusing her of condoning Banks’ homophobia and misogyny by seemingly defending her and blaming Hilton, the victim in this scenario:

That all happened this morning. Thankfully it’s died down for now, most likely because everyone’s agents are screaming "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP." 

Alas, recapping the continued bigotry in our popular culture probably never will die down …

Contact the author of this post at Follow me on Twitter.

Punk Rock’s Favorite Trans Bands, Now Including Against Me!

Punk rock has always been for the misfits and those who don’t feel as though they fit in. Still, nobody expected that Tom Gabel of the Florida punk band Against Me! had been dealing with such strong major issues of feeling like something wasn’t right—until now.

In an issue of Rolling Stone that hits newsstands Friday, Gabel comes out as transgender and reveals that he plans to begin living life as a woman, with the name Laura Jane Grace.  

"I’m going to have embarrassing moments," Gabel told the magazine, "and that won’t be fun. But that’s part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind."

It seems as though this change won’t mean any major upset for the band, or for Gabel’s marriage.

"For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how [my wife] would accept the news," he said. "But she’s been super-amazing and understanding."

Luckily punk rock fans have long been just as accepting and a variety of bands featuring trans performers have become legendary or are already on their way.

From legendary rocker Jayne County, whose hits include “Man Enough To Be A Woman”…

To San Francisco’s queer circus Tribe 8, known for mutilating dildos onstage and performing songs like “Femme Bitch Top” …

To the all-Jewish trans band Schmekel, which plays songs like “I’ll Be Your Macabee”…