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We’ve had to struggle with our identities, and being ostracized by our families and our communities. In coming out, you’ve talked about your role as an activist...
Yeah, but I don’t think coming out necessarily means you have to be an activist. I wanted to talk about it, educate people and stand up for my community, but I don’t think every single trans person who is out in the public eye needs to do that necessarily.
If I can come out to the world publicly on CNN, I can go up to a guy I think is hot and introduce myself.
I’ve done the hardest thing that I could possibly do in my life.
It’s been a real wakeup call because before, I knew presidents could get as bad as George Bush. If we can elect Trump, who else are we capable of electing? I grew up thinking we were supposed to lead by example and our country is taking seven steps backward.
Everyone who wants to hold onto their rights needs to speak up and I’m doing the best I can to spread awareness.
Also, straight boys are basic as fuck, so I’ve got to serve them the basic fantasy to get what I want.
As she shakes off the “coming out journey” narrative she’s told (and retold) since September, we sat down with Quinlivan to talk about everything from her Carrie Bradshaw-like dating struggles and the responsibility she’s taking on as an advocate to her unapologetic call-out of the fashion's secret sexual harassment epidemic.
I knew I was trans, but never in a million years thought this was something I was going to have to live through and go through. Especially in this tense political climate where we’re dealing with everything from overlooked murder to what bathroom you can use.
When you’re sitting there at night and smoking your joint and thinking, "Why me? I doubt that anybody would feel comfortable pissing next to me at a urinal. I am the way I am and I didn’t feel like I had to change myself a lot to be feminine but there are some people who do and we need to give them the space to do that. Gender comes in a variety of colors and shades and sizes—the way you choose to express it is your choice and everyone need to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Have you ever considered a career in politics or nonprofit work?
“I was very lucky, because I won the genetic lottery,” she says.
“That privilege gave me a lot of confidence to walk down the street, date and work in the fashion industry, where people I would presume I was a 'normal' girl.” Related | Gallery: Teddy Quinlivan Although her coming out went viral and publications applauded her internationally for becoming a voice for the marginalized community, Quinlivan immediately went back to work, traveling to Milan and Paris to walk their respective fashion weeks.
I realized that clothing has this extreme power in terms of how we’re perceived.