'America's Next Top Model' transgender contestant

Isistopmodel_lTy Ty, her fabulous Jays, noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker, and a supermodel du jour will be back on September 3 for Cycle 11 of CW’s hit series America’s Next Top Model. This time around, as per ush, the spotlight will most likely center on one girl. Not because she’s short(ish) like Cycle 3′s Eva, or plus size(ish) like Cycle 3′s Tocarra, or grew up on the streets(ish) like Cycle 10′s Marvita, but because the show is going to feature its first transgender contestant — 22-year-old Isis (pictured).

I hope that Tyra and crew won’t turn one contestant’s gender into a circus sideshow for the ratings. (Which will be tempting, as those ratings should be good.) At its best, Top Model can seem almost progressive, with a diverse panel of judges and guests like Benny Ninja and his vogueing divas straight out of Paris is Burning. But the show also tends to go the Tila Tequila way, highlighting whatever it is that makes a girl "different" — Cycle 5 contestant Kim’s sexuality, Cycle 10 winner Whitney’s weight — and having that fact beaten repeatedly into the audience. If Isis is touted as "the transgender contestant" and has to explain her sexuality and gender every time she’s on screen, it will be even more exhausting than hearing Tyra list the prizes for the winner during each elimination.

Do you think Isis will get a fair shake? Or will Tyra et al make her gender the focal point of the season?

addCredit(“Isis; Jim De Yonker”)

Comments (118 total) Add your comment
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  • t3hdow

    It could go either way, though I’m not banking too much on the former. Although Tyra has supported aberrational features between some Top Model contestants (she stood up for plus size Tocarra numerous times), she’s proven to go the other route as well. Season 6 winner Danielle got blasted constantly about her accent (and in a lesser extent, the gap between her front teeth), despite her genuinely nice demeanor and stunning photos. With a transgender, it’ll be a much trickier bridge to cross, Tyra or no Tyra.
    Also, compared to homosexuality, discussions about being transgendered aren’t nearly as pushed, let alone understood by the general public, even among more liberal minded viewers. This will inevitably be brought up – especially if Isis lasts longer than the halfway point – though for her sake, I hope the damage is minimal at worst.

  • Tate

    Oh, man. That’s comedy gold right there, people. I’d write more, but I am too busy laughing. Seriously, what’s so fascinating about a transgender contestant? They’ve had a transgender host for years…

  • LL

    I just hope she’s less obnoxious than the refugee chick (already forgot her name) from last cycle.

  • daisyj

    Hmm, is Tyra going to be classy and restrained or exploitive and sensationalist? Wow, that’s a really tough one. It’s just too bad we don’t have any kind of past history to work from. . .

  • Julie

    I was (yes, I admit it) watching a Cycle 9 marathon this weekend, and I (re)learned what Asberger’s Syndrome is by Tyra’s/Heather’s constant explanations. I know that Heather had a lot of supporters, and I hope that people are as fair to Isis. There must be nothing worse than being seen as a freak–especially when compared to Tyra Banks.

  • Snarf

    Oh Mighty Isis.s.s.s.s.s.s….
    Sorry couldn’t resist. I’m hoping that she (I think all that matters is how a person chooses to identify themselfs) doesn’t have to constantly explain who she is and how she is, but somehow I doubt that will happen.

  • Emmanuel

    Wow! Isis what you are doing is awesome and hope that your gender and your reasons for it wont come to the fore. You are gorgeous, go for it!

  • BRANDY

    NOT GOOD TYRA. MUST YOU AGREE WITH EVERYTHING. WHEN DOES THIS MESS END. WHAT DOES THIS SAY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. PARENTS, WE MUST PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAR OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING BECAUSE WHO WANTS TO EXPLAIN THAT. IT IS BAD ENOUGH YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED ABOUT THEMSELVES ALREADY. TYRA I KNOW YOU WANT TO LOVE EVERYBODY, BUT DO YOU HAVE TO LOVE THEIR MESS TOO. GOD IS NOT PLEASED. YOU GET 5 TICKETS MS. BANKS!!!!!

  • girly

    I would first like to say the writer for this article is not a very good one. I could hardly understand what she was trying to say. All I can say about Isis is him being transgender should have been kept a secret for many resons. Not only is he going to be given a hard time we are confusing our children as well!!

  • t3hdow

    Girly, how is this article impossible to comprehend? Isis is transgender and [the article writer] Lisa hopes it doesn’t turn into an overblown fiasco like Tyra often does with other ‘special’ contestants. I swear, some of you need reading comprehension exams before interpreting very basic articles.

  • bb

    I hope no-one calls her a hot tranny mess…
    P.S. Per-op or Post-op?

  • Dawn

    Wow.. I think we can already guess how this is going to turn out. Girly, YOU referring to Isis as a ‘he’ is the type of behaviour that could be deemed confusing. I imagine Isis is legally a female, and should be treated as one.
    Something tells me this whole thing is going to be totally flogged by the media. Trans-issues seem to be the latest fashion, especially after Thomas Beatie. I can remember some of the comments I’ve read about him and I’m really not looking forward to some of the other silly ones that will probably come Isis’ way.
    Brandy, try educating your kids outside the pigeon hole, then maybe they’ll grow up to be less ignorant people than their parents.

  • Andrea

    I seem to recall watching ET or Access Hollywood this week and seeing a piece about her. I think she’s pre-op, though, so technically she’s still a he. Anyway! I would probably drop dead of shock if Tyra doesn’t make Isis a major focal point of the show…does anyone really think she’s going to win? As much as I hate to say it, the girl’s got as much a chance of winning as I do.

  • Siobhan

    the person who said that Isis is still a man doesn’t know anything about transsexualism, gender identity disorder, or even New York state laws. I know plenty of people who are pre-op – and are legally female -
    I know a transsexual woman who says “I’m not a transsexual – I’m a woman with a birth defect”

  • Nose

    Brandy, if you’re so worried about your children, perhaps you shouldn’t let them watch ANTM, where girls are constantly at each other’s throats, a size 8 girl is considered “plus-size”, already stick-thin girls are told to lose weight, and various other things that send a bad message to children. The fact that this woman used to be a man is really not a huge issue, and she looks as good or better than some contestants that have been on the show before. If you can’t explain topics like this to your kids, I worry about the adults they’ll turn out to be.
    And as far as God goes, I was always taught that the most important commandment was to love your neighbour as yourself, so perhaps you should get off your high horse and become more accepting of people with differences. Your children will only be better for it.
    That being said, you know Tyra is going to mention it at every possible opportunity.

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