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Just three months after Barneys New York was under fire for racially profiling two of their Black customers, the luxury department store is now fearlessly campaigning for the transgender community (please insert my infamous side eye here)!

According to The New York Times, which attempts to shed more light and a little insight on the campaign:

Alongside photographs of the subjects, many taken with family members, pets and other members of their support networks, the catalog also features excerpts from interviews with the participants by the journalist Patricia Bosworth, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the biographer of Diane Arbus.

Ranging in age from 17 to “early 30s,” their races, socioeconomic positions and places on the transgender spectrum vary.

The video above (please watch and join in on my confusion) takes you on a brief journey with two transgender individuals, “Katie + Arin.” The video is gorgeously armed with a sad melancholy tone and crisp grey shades of humanity. And although Barneys enlisted influential LGBT advocate and filmmaker Bruce Weber, something about this short film, to me, feels like a sideways attempt to right a wrong. But according to TIME, the company’s head honchos came up with the idea a year ago to “raise acceptance of trans individuals.”

But wait, there’s more! 17 transgender men and women were photographed as models for the headline-making department store’s spring advertising campaign. Barneys ditched their usual practice of presenting its campaigns in a simple stylish mailer, and is releasing a lavish 32-plate portfolio.

“I hope that my photographs and films of these 17 new friends, who are transgender men and women, convey the respect I have for them and how I stand in awe of their courage to face the world,” Weber said in a statement.

Because I was fairly quiet and didn’t vocalize my surly commentary on the ethics, or lack thereof, from this retailer who would never get any of my hard-earned dollars regardless of this topic for other financially conscious reasons, it’s time for me to call out the pink elephant sitting in the room.

Walk past any of Barneys’ flashy window displays and tell me if you ever see any brown people? Google ‘Barneys fashion ads’ and count how many Black models (and not this one token Black guy in this transgender ad) you find. I guess it would be too blatant of an apology to just hire more Black models, or produce a short film highlighting them. #Shrugs

Let’s keep the conversation going, comment below or follow me on Twitter and chime in with your thoughts.


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Barneys Launches Transgender Advocacy Campaign & I’m Underwhelmed [VIDEO]  was originally published on