Transgender model Maxine Heron was told by an agency that her work was drying up because of her “lifestyle choices” after she came out.
Heron, 26, transitioned privately at the age of 16 but remained in the closet until 2018 when she came out as part of the ‘We Won’t Be Erased’ movement, which showed solidarity with trans people suffering under Trump.
After this she went through a year without a single paid booking, despite being signed exclusively to an agency that “prided themselves on diversity”. When she asked her agent what happened, she was told her gender identity likely presented a “conflict of interest” to her clients.
“The founder of the agency told me it was ‘probably the trans thing’. So I asked if they were disclosing I was transgender to every client and they said yes, because there could be a ‘conflict of interest,’” she told Metro.
“I told them surely integrating models and having inclusivity is about normalising stories like mine, and saying it’s not about someone’s background but whether or not they look the part for the job. I’d thought that’s what the agency was about, not categorising people and separating them.
“They then told me this was something I’d have to deal with in my career because of the lifestyle choices I’d made. I thought they meant my choice to come out but they replied: ‘No your lifestyle choice to transition in the first place.’”
She insisted it was her identity, not a lifestyle choice, but the experience made her realise that no matter how well she “passed” there would always be certain people forcing her into “that box”.
Fortunately, it wasn’t the end of her story; Heron has now signed with WIMP modelling agency, which exclusively represents trans talent, and she also works in marketing for the trans-inclusive makeup brand Jecca Black.
“There was a very long time where I resented my transness and wanted to pretend it didn’t exist,” she told Metro. “I think it’s so important to remember we’re valid, there are so many of us and we aren’t going anywhere. We need to be accepted.”
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