Gay/Trans Alliance

David LaChapelle Discusses His Controversial Nude Photos Of Carmen Carrera

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A few weeks ago, David LaChapelle photographed Drag Race alum and transgender activist Carmen Carrera and debuted his stunning art for the HIV/AIDS fundraiser Life Ball, and now he’s speaking out over the controversy surrounding it.

The (NSFW) posters feature Carrera fully nude with both male and female genitalia, and are freely posted on various billboards, bus stops, and train stations around Vienna. The visibility of the poster captured the ire of right-wing Austrian group Freedom Party Of Austria, who is now suing the Life Ball.

LaChapelle initially shared his intent that the photos were “meant to be beautiful,” and in an interview with Out, he clarified his position even further:

“I’ve always wanted to do that, so I was very excited. I wanted to photograph a woman in the nude, and capture a goddess that’s both male and female. I wanted someone who’s undergoing that transition, before the full operation, or who had decided to keep their penis. It’s a sensitive subject, but I wanted someone who was not going to be ashamed about that, whether she’s in transition, or she whether was going to continue living as a woman with male genitalia. I was really to get this idea of a beautiful being that possesses both male and female attributes.”

On the Freedom Party of Austria, LaChapelle is definitely right on and defiant about those trying to silence his art:

“The posters may get defaced, but they will just be replaced, and they will still be up for another month after the Life Ball.”

Now this is the kind of gay/trans solidarity we need, and we’re big fans of LaChapelle for sticking to his guns and Carmen Carrera for being bold enough to show us hers. The Life Ball will be held this weekend in Vienna, Austria.


H/t: Frontiers




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  • Qjersey

    Carmen Carrera is an absolute *ss for complaining about Katie Couric’s insensitivity (I don’t disagree) for asking about genitals and then allowing herself to be portrayed as a soft porn “she-male” with a penis.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    @Qjersey: I couldn’t agree with you more ! She can’t say stop talking about my genitals then pose nude. She is inviting questions about her genitals by posing with and without a penis.

  • michael mellor

    David LaChapelle is gross. I don’t think he helps the GLBT community. In my view, he makes a lot of money by exploiting it.

  • john sitges

    The image is sooooo photoshopped that even the penis looks false!

  • Allen D.

    I have a trans ex. I always figured I’d be on he/she’s side (THEIR terminology).

    Carmen has made me full-on transphobic. I long for the days of GLB. Yes, I fondly recall the pre “T” days that I still remember.

  • jayj150

    How on Earth is Carrera showing solidarity with the gay community simply for posing for a few photos?. Wow, isn’t she merciful, she let a gay guy take photos of her?!!.

  • Tackle

    I wish that Carmen Carrera woul just go away. It’s hard to believe that one person in such a short period of time could do so much damage to the LGBTQ community. She has caused dissention/contention/bickering/
    and fall-out: Nothing but negitivity. Most trans people who I know are nothing like her. She’s of that fringe element who is definately not our ally, nor an ally to most trans people…

  • ngblog

    Sorry, Dave, but the only controversy is not in your photo with Carmen Carrera, but the sanctimonious hypocrisy in having a trans woman telling Katie Couric that asking a question whether she had gender reassignment surgery is none of her business, only to then turn around and bare all for a photographer weeks later.

    I would only hope this controversy didn’t take away from the AIDS charity.

  • KDub

    @Tackle: That’s really dramatic. If one person can really cause that much dissension, the community wasn’t all that strong to begin with.

    What’s with all this trans-bullying against Carmen Carrera? I don’t know that much about this person, but *insert whatever pronoun won’t offend you here* looks just like Jessica Alba. Carrera is the only trans I’ve seen that doesn’t look like a total muppet. I’d imagine transfolk would love Carmen’s representation. *shrug*

  • Tackle

    @KDub: Dramatic? It better be. I find Carmen Carrera to be dramatic and overreaching. Wanting to censor, and have people not use certain words because it bothers her. And it’s not that she has turned the LGBTQ community upside down. But she has made enough noise (negative wise)where people have noticed. And this is NOT trans-bullying. I’m willing to bet that most Trans people are just going about living their lives. Striving for the same in life as “anyone’. And overall, just good people,who Carmen does not represent. As I have said before, she is of the/that fringe element.
    And she is only out for herself…

  • buybioniconitunes

    …so does anyone here actually have proof that its fringe trans ppl who are against RuPaul? like proof that doesnt begin with the words “I have so many trans friends” or “but TS Madison said”

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @buybioniconitunes: Well since Queerty is quite vigorous in their censorship you’d have to go and to get the full story. It’s apparent in the comment section and their stories too.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Nowuvedoneit: I don’t know that I would call it censorship, but I definitely agree that this week’s series, “Queerty Asks a Series of Drag Personalities How Much They Hate Carmen Carrera” really destroyed most of my faith in their editorial team. There’s always been jerks in the comment section railing on and on about their perceived issues with the trans community, but lately I’ve been getting that same anger from the staff. Sad.

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @Thedrdonna: I am over this issue as well, I posted the links for information, if people chose to learn from it or not. I am read to agree to disagree on this matter and let it be.

  • GlitterKidder

    Dude looks like a lady.

  • Cam

    @Thedrdonna: said…

    “There’s always been jerks in the comment section railing on and on about their perceived issues with the trans community, but lately I’ve been getting that same anger from the staff. Sad.”

    Nice try but when the Trans Blogs are full of anti-gay, lesbian, and Bi articles and nothing about the right wing folks it is obvious where the anger is coming from. When the Trans community attacks the GLB’s on the day marriage became legal in NYC, that isn’t anger coming from the GLB’s that is anger from the Trans side.

    But you know, nice try.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Cam: Nice try but you haven’t provided me with any evidence that there’s a broad base of anger and homophobia among trans people but nice try.

  • KDub

    @Tackle: Check out the above conversation btw Cam and Thedrdonna. There has obviously been some tension btw gay and trans for awhile. To blame it all on Carrera is not only dramatic but also disingenuous. Maybe this whole Carrera/RuPaul debacle is just bringing out issues that needed to be discussed.

    @ngblog: So you’re saying gay men just never ever straddle both sides of the fence? Please.

  • corvaspikenard

    @Allen D.: I think in this case you’ve chosen to become a transphobe because you don’t like the actions of one particular person from that demongraphic.
    Which tells me you were probably already a transphobe and being disingenuous.

    If one person from a demongraphic can make you hate a whole demographic, you have a problem and you’re doing it willfully.

  • corvaspikenard

    @Cam: RuPaul himself claimed that it is nothing more than a ‘fringe’ of trans activists who are against his language use, so why would you believe that the ‘anti-gay’ trans people are again anything more than a fringe group of crazies, just as you’d find in any other large group of people?

    I certainly haven’t seen any kind of organised and widespread homophobia from the trans community – especially considering 2/3rds of the trans population is GLB as well!

  • jayj150

    @corvaspikenard: “…especially considering 2/3rds of the trans population is GLB as well!”. I don’t really understand that argument. Yes, apparently most transsexuals identify as LGB, because apparently most of them are bisexual, so what? are you saying you can’t be bi and homophobic?. There are countless instances of homophobic bisexual people, both trans and not. And I’d argue most of these so-called ‘fringe’ trans extremists are not even bi, but identify as “trans lesbian women” instead. You are being extremely disingenuous if you really mean that people like Parker Molloy are a)A rarity among transsexual people and b) Not homophobic. The woman is a rabid homophobic and her discourse is shared by MANY in the trans ‘lesbian’ community. Your pretending that’s not the case is grossly condescending. But more importantly, why do we NEVER see transpeople strongly and publicly condemning the openly homophobic tone of people like Molloy. Even trans moderates like J. Vivian Bond, Chris Crocker and Andrea James, will only go as far as ask Molloy to calm down and let it go; none of them will call them out for their hate speech. The transadvocate routinely refers to Rupaul and other gay men as ‘fagg#t’, and yet it’s widely seen as a respected news/opinion outlet within the trans community. You don’t need to go very far to verify it; most trans commentators here fiercely come in defense of Molloy, Juro and the like. WHERE ARE THE NON-HOMOPHOBIC TRANSPEOPLE CONDEMNING THE HATE SPEECH AMONG THEIR COMMUNITY?.

    So if you want to have a conversation, if you so much want to remain being a part of our acronym, you must start by recognizing the fact that RAMPANT HOMOPHOBIA IN THE TRANS COMMUNITY IS A REAL THING.

  • corvaspikenard

    @jayj150: I lost my reply after I hit submit, so let me try again and hope I remembered all of it:

    I googled Parker Molloy as I wasn’t familiar with the name. The results were disturbing and I’m glad I’ve never run into her on the internet before. She seems unhinged and just as prone to attacking her supporters as the people she seems to dislike. She seems extremely anti anything LGBT that isn’t specifically about her.

    On behalf of the trans community I’d like to apologise to you for her rancid behaviour. I utterly condemn it. I know I’m not Bond, Mock or James, but I hope that counts for something.
    I *will* fight homophobia wherever I see it, no matter who it comes from. I *will* condemn anyone who voices anti-LGBT rhetoric.
    You have my support.

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