International fashion model Teddy Quinlivan officially came out as transgender yesterday.
The 23-year-old also spoke out against the injustices facing the trans community, and shared the story of her journey in a series of candid Instagram posts.
Quinlan has walked in over 150 shows since entering the fashion world in 2015, when she worked with Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2016 collection. In just the last week, she walked for labels including Coach, Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week.
“I want to help break the stigma of what it means to be transgender,” Quinlivan said in her coming out statement. “We need more and more trans voices to speak out and share our humanity so that the world stops seeing us as ’other.'”
The model told CNN, “I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States.”
“We made an amazing progression under the Obama administration,” she adds, “and since the new administration took office there’s been a kind of backlash.”
In her statement, Quinlivan pointed out that there’s a lot at stake for the trans community right now.
“Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, are still being murdered at an astronomical rate, simply for being ourselves,” she said, adding that trans people also still face discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, and that some legislators seem intent on putting trans people in harm’s way.
“Enough is enough,” she said. “We deserve justice and I will use my voice to help our diverse, vibrant and resilient trans communities overcome these obstacles and thrive.”
In one of her Instagram videos, the model reveals that staying closeted was a way for her to protect not only her career, but also to protect herself from being hurt.
But, she says, “I would always kind of ask myself if not now, when, if not me, who?”
Ultimately, she says, “I wanted to be the hero that I never had growing up for somebody else.”
Since Quinlan made her announcement, a number of prominent fashion designers have spoken out to express their support.
“When the time came for her to start her career, I was amazed and proud to see how she embraced the fashion marathon with such a fantastic success,” said Ghesquière, the first designer she worked with. “Today is important for her and I would like to express my full support and love.”
Marc Jacobs also expressed his admiration.
“As a model she has and continues to inspire me with her energy, enthusiasm and commitment,” he said. “I respect, admire and support Teddy’s decision to come out as transgender.”
“Now more than ever, it is vital that we pledge our allegiance to the LGBT community and use our voices to encourage and inspire acceptance, equality, understanding, and love,” Jacobs added. “I am so proud to know Teddy.”
For more on trans models’ contributions to the fashion world, check out Logo’s Made To Model: Trans Beauty In Fashion below.