Hari Nef is a trans model and actress. If you’re familiar with the latest Gucci collections, you’ve seen her. If you watched the last season of Transparent, you’ve seen her.
Nef is also one of four cover stars of the upcoming Elle UK issue dedicated to the “Rise Of The Rebel.” The hook in Nef’s inclusion is obviously her identity and position in the public eye but, as she’s pointed out on Twitter, this is all a means to insert trans normalcy and destigmatization into our culture’s consciousness.
As The Independent points out, an intentional subject that Nef hoped got headlines, is her sexuality. Why is this important to talk about? Because trans bodies being loved and accepted, removed from stigma, eliminates sexual fear.
To her, straight men are the key to this.
In her interview, Nef described how she had begun dating straight men, but said she preferred queer men because of their ability to understand gender as fluid and not the definition of who she is.
“At first gay men were all I ever knew how to be attracted to. Now I’m seeing straight men regularly for the first time in my life…I prefer men who are queer. Not gay men, but queer men – guys with an open mind. Bisexual men, because they’re able to understand the different elements of the body without judging that I don’t conform to a certain ideal.
“In order to really connect with someone I can’t have this gender cloud hanging over me. When I ignore it, people tend to ignore it as well. The more causal I am about this stuff, the more casual other people are.”
That’s important: the casualness of Nef is an example to take note of, that brings the trans body back to earth instead of out there as a hypothetical other. In effect, this brings trans bodies next door and into the open.
Y’all know that I love Hari and statements like this heighten her importance as a to-be-mainstream trans figure. Unlike Caitlyn Jenner and the precious, political conversation around queer otherness, Nef conducts herself in a way to be seen as any other girl with her own unique challenges and interests. As she says, that casualness will only make trans and queer experiences all the more familiar and comfortable.