By Rebecca Jasulevicz
On October 6, “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Isis King will visit ESU to speak about her life and experience as the first openly transgender woman to compete on the show. The event will take place in the Keystone Room at 7:00 PM.
Lex Serrano, the president of PRIDE and a worker at the LGBTQA Program Center, said, “She designs fashion and she was on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ twice. She’s the first transwoman to compete on the show and became one of the most visible transgender people on television.”
Though King was born physically male, she was mentally female — or, as she says, she was “born in the wrong body.” This is what the term “transgender” describes — that one’s gender identity does not match one’s biological sex.
King was on “America’s Next Top Model” in seasons 11 and 17, and though she did not win, she has made great strides in modeling and fashion and has brought attention to the homeless and LGBTQA communities.
According to Serrano, “She does a lot of really great work with the Ali Forney Center, which PRIDE donated its drag show funds to two years ago.”
In the past, King was homeless and living at the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The Ali Forney Center is housing for homeless LGBTQ youth. Currently, 40 percent of all homeless youth in New York City identify as LGBTQ.
While King lived at the center, homeless women were recruited to be background models in a photo shoot for the tenth season of “America’s Next Top Model.”
The show’s staff encouraged King to apply for the subsequent season, for which she became one of the fourteen contestants.
Since being on the show, King has worked to raise awareness for the struggles that LGBTQ youth face and has been an active advocate for the transgender community.
According to Serrano, interested students should attend King’s presentation on October 6 “to broaden their world view, to learn acceptance, and also to listen to someone who made really big strides for the transgender community.”
King’s appearance is going to kick off ESU’s National Coming Out Week Celebration, which is sponsored by the LGBTQA Program Center, PRIDE, and SOUL. King is also being sponsored by the Residence Life Diversity Committee and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Other activities for National Coming Out Week include a discussion of the Ally Program on October 7, a showing of “The Birdcage” on October 8, and the game, “Guess Who’s Gay?” on October 9. Each of these events will take place at 7:00 PM in the main lounge of Shawnee Hall.
To hear more about how Isis King has sashayed her way into the hearts of millions, come out to hear her speak on October 6 at 7:00 PM in the Keystone Room.
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