Why Does This Designer Whose Work Has Appeared on ‘Pose’ Think It’s OK to Misgender Trans Women?
It was just this morning that Hornet reported on respected trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston’s calling out of drag icon RuPaul for a lack of conversation around the critically acclaimed FX series Pose. But as so often happens, the conversation on social media has taken a dark turn. Several fans of the hit show Drag Race have come out of the gate swinging, railing against Preston’s critique, including a man named Abraham David Levy. He’s a designer whose Instagram profile specifically calls out his work for Pose, and he went so far as to intentionally misgender Preston on Facebook.
That’s flat-out unacceptable.
Preston feels that RuPaul’s lack of mentioning the popular series — a project that is notable in that it stars five trans women of color, has trans writers and featured the first-ever television episode directed by a trans woman of color, Janet Mock — “confirms what the trans community already knew” about RuPaul’s feelings toward the trans community.
In the past RuPaul has met criticism from trans activists for his use of the word “she-male” and for an interview he gave earlier this year in which he said he would “probably not” allow trans women to compete on Drag Race, later conflating that notion with doped-up athletes.
Abraham David Levy, a self-proclaimed “avant-garde designer” has had his work appear on multiple queer television series. His instagram profile mentions that his designs have been seen on Pose, Seasons 9 and 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2. In addition, several former Drag Race contestants are friends with him and follow him on social media.
In response to Preston’s initial statement on RuPaul’s lack of mention for Pose, Levy wrote, “RuPaul is currently filming [All Stars 4] just last month finished filming [Drag Race Season 11] and also working on a daytime talk show…eventually she’ll have time. Not to mention there’s a trans on [All Stars 4] but what does this guy really know about Ru?”
It’s a particularly tone deaf comment seeing as how Levy refers to RuPaul, a cis man, as “she” but refers to Preston as “this guy.” But it then got even worse.
After Levy was called out for his misgendering of Preston by more than one Facebook follower, Levy responded, “I’ve decided Ashlee is a man, end of conversation. Period.”
Of course, not one to back down from a confrontation — Preston is, after all, the activist who let Caitlyn Jenner hear a mouthful back in August 2017 — Preston clapped back at Levy’s blatantly transphobic ignorance.
“How can Abraham David Levy misgender me as a trans woman AND make costumes for POSE on FX? If you’re going to be a transphobe at LEAST be one who doesn’t rely on the trans community to feed you, pay your rent or keep your lights on,” Preston fired back.
Abraham David Levy has since responded to his being called out for the misgendering comments. He posted on Facebook today:
Apparently you can’t say anything on social media without it being taken out of context. Late last night I came upon a post where someone was bashing Rupaul for not speaking about POSE. While defending Ru and the trans community, I posted “he” has no clue as to what he’s talking about. (Not noticing it was a woman who wrote the thread.)
SOOOOO, at this point I have 3 people trying to correct me, I’m like WTF??? so with my sense of humor I posted back “Allie is now a he and that’s that. Period.”
Now I’m being branded a trans phobic… go figure. Me, who works with everyone no matter what race or creed. For the record, ask any of my trans friends how I work with and they will tell you I give them everything for free. Yes me the “trans-phobic” taking care of my girls.
In no sense of the word will I apologize for something I’m not. I’m not racist or phobic in any way. Never have, never will be.
What do you think of Abraham David Levy and his misgendering comments? Did they sound like a mistake and a joke to you?
Photos of Abraham David Levy taken from his Facebook page