Could Carmen Carrera Be Victoria's Secret's First Trans Angel?

Illustration for article titled Could Carmen Carrera Be Victorias Secrets First Trans Angel?

Last week a petition was posted on Change.org, urging Victoria's Secret to hire Carmen Carrera as a model. Carmen Carrera is a transgender burlesque performer extraordinaire, well known for her pre-transition stint on RuPaul's Drag Race where she set the gold standard for the art of the "tuck and fold." Just this past August, Carrera did a feature in W Magazine, including a short film [NSFW] with Steven Meisel.

Of course the news of the petition has been met with some expected protest, mostly along the lines of people spelling 'natural women' in all caps, women not wanting to share their overpriced bras, and generally referring to Carrera as 'he.' Just your run-of-the-mill internet ignorance that still manages to physically rage-nauseate. Aside from those stragglers, reception has been great, and the petition itself has gained over 35,000 signatures.

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As the original petition states:

By asking Carmen to be a model, Victoria's Secret would show the entire community that they embrace trans patrons. There are so many prejudices toward the trans community, even within the LGBT community, and many trans individuals are not seen as real people. To see a transgender model walk would show that trans women are to be taken seriously and that Angels are selected because of their character and talent. As a brand, Victoria's Secret should feel comfortable marketing towards ALL types of women.

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Having a giant like Victoria's Secret invite a transgender woman to join the Angels is the kind of big step necessary to legitimize and normalize LGBT issues in the mainstream. Of course it seems like a tall order, and who knows how realistic it is? Whatever; the movement isn't going to be shouted down. Because seriously, who the fuck cares what other people wear under their clothes?


[Daily Beast, Change.org]

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DISCUSSION

I've never seen RuPaul's show, but I always thought that dressing in drag meant having an un-altered male body and using clothing, makeup, and accessories to achieve the desired look, and that it didn't mean you were transgender. Carrera is transgender, but is also a drag queen. Since she's going to be in very revealing clothing, does that mean I can assume she's had surgery, at least on top? I'm not sure how to phrase this exactly, and I really don't want to ask anything in a negative way, but if a transgender woman can be a drag queen, what is the difference between drag and transgender? It seems that would mean that every trans woman could be considered a man in drag, as opposed to simply a woman. Is it just a case of 'if you say you're in drag, you're in drag'?

Sorry, I'm obviously not as informed as I should be. Can someone clear this up? No offense is intended in any way!