'Real Housewives' Stars Under Fire for Comments on Trans Model

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday September 12, 2019

"Real Housewives" star Sonja Morgan
"Real Housewives" star Sonja Morgan  (Source:Instagram / @sonjatmorgan)

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and Tuesday Garo Sparo Atelier hosted a fashion show which was attended by celebrities, drag queens and many models. In the audience were Sonja Morgan and Dorinda Medley, stars of "The Real Housewives of New York." The two have received flak for making comments perceived to be transphobic, aimed at trans model Yasmine Petty.

In a video from the event which was quickly removed from Medley's social media, Medley was heard saying: "Well with a body like that, it's a guy. That's a guy," as Petty walked the runway.

Morgan then responded: "With a body like that it's a guy, you're absolutely right. Oh lord."

The video is still available to watch on Twitter in a reupload.

Medley and Morgan have issued an apology, according to Page Six, saying:
"We have a history as long-standing supporters of the LGBTQ community in many ways and apologize for our offensive comments at the fashion show."

In response, Petty explained to US Weekly how the comments were hurtful.

"As a transgender woman, I've never thought of myself as a model," Petty said. "But I have always tried to fully embrace who I am in whatever I do. Sometimes that requires being vulnerable and brave. I was excited to model in a runway show for Garo Sparo at New York Fashion Week, an artist who celebrates diversity and authenticity."

She continued, "During that show, as I walked down the catwalk with my head held high in who I am, a few women in the front row (who we've all seen on television) spoke hurtful, damaging comments, saying, 'With a body like that, it's a guy.'"

She finished by encouraging other trans women struggling with self-affirmation.

"People don't get to choose their sexual orientation or gender identity," she said. "What people do get to choose though is projecting rude and cruel behavior toward other people over things they have no control over... People in positions of influence and power must do better. And to any trans woman out there feeling inadequate as a woman, keep strutting honey."

The Daily Beast reports that the online backlash Medley and Morgan are facing is showing no signs of slowing down. Many social media users have reposted the video and made comments condemning the two's statements.

According to HollywoodLife.com, a former client of Morgan's, publicist Daniel Miles Lee Hue said he doubts the comments were made with harmful intentions, and that he thinks this should be a "teachable moment."

"This is a teachable moment where I hope affluent cis-gendered women can learn to practice more restraint and sensitivity, and hopefully our trans sisters can help educate and bring along willing allies to help join the movement for trans equality," Hue said. "This is an example where we can't let perfection become the enemy of the good and point out areas of opportunity where people can become more inclusive in their communication."

In her statement to US Weekly, Petty also concluded by saying:
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. But we as a society, must do better."

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