After Model Carissa Pinkston was caught making transphobic statements on twitter, she responded to the controversy by coming out as transgender herself… except she wasn’t.
Pinkston, who has graced the pages of VOUGE and is represented by the legendary Elite Modeling agency in the US and Premiere Model Management in the UK, made the now deleted anti-trans posts back in May, insisting that “Trans women are not women.”
Backlash to the remarks immediately ensued, even from fellow models. In the aftermath, Pinkston alleges she retrieved hate mail, death threats and was fired from her job once her tweets went viral. In an attempt to salvage what remained of her spiraling career, she took to her Instagram and made an unexpected move- she came out as a male-to-female trans person.
As bizarre as it may seem, a minority exists of Anti-Trans trans people. It is quite a phenomenon, but the likes of Journalist Debbie Hayton and Fionne Orlander, both of whom routinely attack the trans community and campaign against the rights of transgender folks, specifically women. A common theme in the public efforts is to accuse transgender women of being a threat to women. Orlander describes herself as a “Trans identifying Male (TIM) and both align themselves with radical anti-trans activists. Many members of the transgender community have accused them of being quislings who may not be actual transgender women, but vehement transphobic men masquerading as trans with the sole intent to misinform the public and sabotage the progress of activists they frequently condemn. Or maybe it’s because they post photos wearing attire with this type of messaging:
That we, as a community, have had to work to repair the damage done by anti-trans activism courted by transgender public figures who are given public platforms is jarring. But, it happens.
Pinkston, however, wasn’t committed enough with maintaining her deceptive declaration of being a trans woman, especially after her colleague, Model Aleece Wilson, also of Elite Modeling Agency, called her bluff on her “coming out” post under her screen name @ Oddfreckles:
After being challenged on her honest, Pinkston posted a live muted broadcast of herself crying inconsolably. While none of her viewers could hear her speaking, it was clear she was distressed. This lead to Wilson coming under fire from Pinkston’s fans and being labeled, unjustly, as transphobic for questioning the authenticity of the statements made by Pinkston.
And shortly afterward came the confession, one that lacked sincerity and appeared to give herself a pass being “Panicked” and “Only 20.”
She wanted to make things better for herself, she says, by lying to cover up her anti-trans rhetoric in an era where 12 black trans women have been murdered this year alone. While Pinkston isn’t wrong that people- of all ages- make some pretty heinous mistakes- especially when it comes to preserving your job and livelihood, they don’t typically co-opt an identity that isn’t their own for sympathy and support. The claim that her anti-trans sentiments stemmed from years of insecurity is a real psychological result for a very small pocket of trans women who feel they can never achieve social acceptance, thus forcefully denounce trans women altogether as a form of rebellion. Self hatred manifests in way where the victim chooses to lash out and bring down others in their own community as vengeance for their own painful feelings of inadequacy or internalized anger. It is true that Transgender people are indoctrinated into the belief that we must hate ourselves to suit a cis-normative culture that rejects any identity that is not binary.
Pinkston exploited that in pursuit of her own career redemption, ultimately incurring far more harm, both to herself and the community whose people she leveraged for sympathy.