Siriano, your license to fierce is hereby revoked

Christian Siriano: If you think of heterosexuals, they have white-trash women and trailer parks, and we have drag queens and trannies. I don’t know if I’m the one who can explain it. It’s, like, drag queens are just there. These answers are hard!

I swear, if I see this twit walking around Williamsburg again, I will be tempted to clock him upside the head with a pink flamingo. Let’s see, Christian. You grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, went to school abroad in London, then got a big break on Bravo by flinging around 80s drag ball terms like “fierce” and deriding outfits as “a hot tranny mess” over and over.

In case anyone was confused about whether you meant “tranny” as a slur, now you’ve made it clear: trans people and drag queens are down there with “white-trash women” and trailer parks! You know, all those low-class bad things — gee, why didn’t you throw “welfare queens” in there too? Maybe I should get together with a couple of my white friends from lower-income backgrounds, get our car off the cinder blocks, and drive around Brooklyn looking for you. Pink Flamingo!

Time Out’s premise of asking a bunch of random homosexuals to weigh in on the rapidly self-devouring remnants of “gay culture” in New York is awfully thin to begin with. But Siriano somehow manages to suck the meaning out of the conversation every time he opens his mouth, like some kind of vacuous intelligence-leech. I mean, look at this:

Douglas Carter Beane: When a gay man does drag, it’s the most beautiful feminist statement. When straight men do it, you’ve got to train them not to be negative. I learned that from making To Wong Foo.

Christian Siriano: I love To Wong Foo! It’s so good, so fabulous.


I don’t know if I agree with Douglas Carter Beane, but at least he was saying something that had a shred of content in it. I have some advice for Christian: why don’t you just say “I like turtles!” every time someone asks your opinion of anything that doesn’t have to do with clothes. It would be more entertaining and some people might even find it meaningful.

I am only consoled by imagining what must have happened right after Siriano made his “trannies” quip. I’m sure they all looked at him like he was insane. But what comes next in my fantasy is that Ariel and Stacey-Ann held him down while Glenn Marla whacked him with a tap shoe, gave him a crew cut and dressed him up in items selected from the Sears discount activewear rack.

You might be thinking: Holly give him a break, he’s only 23! Unfortunately that means he’s actually been an adult for five years. Lest anyone wildly imagine that I actually want to inflict physical harm on him, let me just say that the kind of exasperated rage he evokes in me and many other queers I know is more like the feeling you get from a younger cousin who’s getting way too much attention for misbehaving in disrespectful and ignorant ways. You really wish that an older relative would take him aside and explain to him that he’s making a fool out of himself, and will be really embarassed to look back in five years after he becomes a E-list wash-up.

When that doesn’t happen, you kind of wish someone would just whack some sense into him. Or send him to a gay version of military school, where he could learn not to be such an idiot in public… from experience boot-camp sergeants like RuPaul, Sir Ian McKellen, and Sandra Bernhardt. It wouldn’t be all bad; I hear gay military school has great perks! It’s either that or the pink flamingo drive-by, Christian.

UPDATE: (thanks Jill) Sirianio is now saying that he was quoted out of context and his words taken the wrong way. I’m not sure exactly what context the comparison above could be made in that would make this all OK, but the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says he regrets the comments and is working to take “tranny” as a slur out of his vocabulary. He invokes the “some of my best friends are trans” defense, and does acknowledge that he’s not exactly a gender-conforming straightwad himself. Sadly, that’s never been a guarantee that someone’s not dissing trans folks as trash. But at least it’s possible that someone’s steering Siriano on a path of less public Fleuvog-in-mouth syndrome.


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40 comments for “Siriano, your license to fierce is hereby revoked

  1. May 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Classism, transphobia, and a complete ignorance of modern American LGBTQ history in one fell swoop. This guy’s a piece of work.

  2. eastsidekate
    May 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Christian Siriano, 21
    Project Runway winner, hot trannie mess popularizer

    Ouch. So in five years he’ll be “Hot Trannie Mess Popularizer and guy who won a reality show back in the day” He’s his own caricature, and as you say, is embarrassing himself. But, he’s also teaching folks that queer people think it’s cool to throw around pseudo-kitschy epithets. Maybe if there were more queer people (let alone trans people) on TV, or if [i]anyone[/i] in the media would call him on his shit, it wouldn’t be so offensive. Damn.

  3. Thomas, TSID
    May 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Wow.

    So, now, skinny, flamboyant fashion-industry gay men want to throw transfolk under the bus. And we’re still not over the stage where some conventionally masculine, assimilationist gay men want to throw less conventionally masculine-acting gay men under the bus (that would be YOU, Mr. Siriano). I’m reminded of Martin Niemoller’s sad remark.

  4. May 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    And notice it’s “white trash women.” Because the men are not a problem. Women=skanks.

    Yeah, he never turned my crank. Chris March was robbed! I loves me some human hair.

  5. Thomas, TSID
    May 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I didn’t mean to generalize. I should have said “one skinny, flamboyant fashion-industry gay man.” I have no idea how common or uncommon transphobia is among gay men in the fashion industry, and I have no idea if the other contestants called him out for that shit and it ended up on the cutting room floor. I can’t believe that Chris was on board with it.

  6. meggygurl
    May 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Ugh. This is the problem with the LGBT movement….

  7. May 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Yeah, as someone who is 23, I take offense to any attempt to explain away this kind of behavior on that basis, either by the 23-year-olds themselves or by other people.

  8. May 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I have some advice for Christian: why don’t you just say “I like turtles!” every time someone asks your opinion of anything that doesn’t have to do with clothes

    Ok, this made me choke on my coffee. I love the “I like turtles!” kid! And I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who invokes those words every time I hear someone say something useless.

  9. May 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Christian Siriano is sort of a problem. He did an equally amazing interview with the New York Times a couple weeks ago in which he was asked if there had been a backlash from the “tranny community” (yes, the interviewer’s words) in response to his phrase, and he responded:

    “No! the trannies LLLLLOVE me, are you kidding?? I kinda use it in a negative way sometimes but I’m meaning it with love. I mean, I love Candice Cayne — she’s fabulous and we are so close — so I would never hate on trannies.”

  10. May 28, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Seriously, there are as many offensive things about that sentence as there are words in it. He’s got talent, but not so much that he can get away with being that ignorant.

    (I love the interview talknormal quoted: “My best friend is a tranny!” Ew.)

  11. laurab
    May 28, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Did someone not get the memo about not fucking with the drag queens?

    I thought everyone got that memo. Mine came stapled to my copy of the Gay Agenda. Jeez.

  12. William
    May 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Ugh. This is the problem with the LGBT movement….

    No, this is the problem with reality television. It was kind of an interesting idea for about six months when Survivor first aired and it’s gotten steadily more ugly with every iteration. If a producer has to fill an hour a week with ridiculous crap while competing with other hours of ridiculous crap they’re going to find the most ridiculous people stuffed with the most crap they can so they have as high a probability of entertaining ridiculous crap happening as is possible. In this case (as in most) it’s a walking bad stereotype who is stupid enough to not realize they’ve been turned into an object of ridicule but just intelligent enough to not need a ventilator. He was cast to play the wacky flamboyant queer by what was likely a panel of upper class white people trying to figure out what would be liked by whatever their fantasy was about the types of people who would watch a show about competitive clothes design.

    The worst part about this whole thing is that the more attention we heap on this sad/disgusting/enraging witless minstrel act the more likely it will be that the same garbage is perpetuated year after year. Remember, half of Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh’s audiences tune in every day just to hear what crazy thing they’ll say next. The only way to get rid of this is to turn it off.

  13. maatnofret
    May 28, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    The only way to get rid of this [sad/disgusting/enraging witless minstrel act] is to turn it off.

    *shrug*

    What can I say? I’m doing my part.

  14. May 28, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    But did you see what Stacyann Chin had to say? I love her.

  15. May 28, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Okay, so I’m reading/skimming this issue of Time Out as I write. I’m glad that Gen Q was reppin’ hard in the Queens for a Day piece. That’s what’s up.

  16. Suzan
    May 28, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Some one needs to tell Siriano that his tired act is so over with and he has used up his 15 minutes so now he should go back to flipping burgers or working a corner.

  17. May 28, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    he should go back to flipping burgers or working a corner.

    Nope. Not cool. There’s no need to engage in anti-sex-worker rhetoric to take down Siriano or anybody else.

  18. May 28, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Why are you all getting so worked up over him? He’s gonna be forgotten in a few months. He’s resorted to designing t-shirts. Yeah, that’s “fierce.”

  19. exholt
    May 28, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    swear, if I see this twit walking around Williamsburg again, I will be tempted to clock him upside the head with a pink flamingo.

    Out of curiosity, why a pink flamingo? Is this a reference to their being regarded by popular culture as artifacts of poor taste?

  20. William
    May 28, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Why are you all getting so worked up over him? He’s gonna be forgotten in a few months. He’s resorted to designing t-shirts. Yeah, that’s “fierce.”

    I’m less worked up about him than the culture and media values that produced him. He’s slightly offensive and mildly obnoxious, but the fact that I can’t seem to turn on any channel without being barraged with the gag reel for the lives of a series of Axis II cases pisses me off. Its voyeurism, its the same urge that makes us slow down and stare when we drive past an accident, its playing to the worst qualities within us and its everywhere. It’s a marginally higher class version of Jerry Springer, but all the polish in the world doesn’t do much to hide that they’re still selling the commodification of human beings, their foibles, and their misery.

  21. May 28, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Nope. Not cool. There’s no need to engage in anti-sex-worker rhetoric to take down Siriano or anybody else.

    Or, you know, condescending comments about “burger-flippers.”

  22. May 29, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Out of curiosity, why a pink flamingo? Is this a reference to their being regarded by popular culture as artifacts of poor taste?

    I was thinking of the movie, which sits smack at the corner of trans/queerness (c.f. Divine) and over-the-top portrayals of “white trash” culture.* The title of the film refers the lawn ornaments in front of the main characters’ mobile home, and I’ve always seen and heard the pink lawn flamingo associated with kitchy, declasse poor taste — the kind of thing Siriano looks down upon. On top of that, the movie is also set in Baltimore… albeit the opposite end from where Siriano is from. On top of on top of that, the back of his head looks like a flamingo ass. The kid really deserves to be haunted by Divine’s ghost for that remark, but he’d probably just shriek about how fabulous it is to be haunted without learning a thing.

    * I do not however condone eating dog feces, crushing live chickens during sexual intercourse, or eating police officers.

  23. Melisssa
    May 29, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Out of curiosity, why a pink flamingo? Is this a reference to their being regarded by popular culture as artifacts of poor taste?

    hmm… i thought it might be a reference to the plastic pink flamingo as a symbol of camp- but I could be wrong!

  24. Melisssa
    May 29, 2008 at 12:33 am

    oops, my last comment went up a little late

  25. May 29, 2008 at 12:47 am

    I swear, if I see this twit walking around Williamsburg again, I will be tempted to clock him upside the head with a pink flamingo.

    You could totally take him. He claims to be five feet tall, but I doubt it.

  26. piny
    May 29, 2008 at 7:03 am

    …Ariel Schrag is twenty-eight? Holy shit.

  27. piny
    May 29, 2008 at 7:10 am

    When that doesn’t happen, you kind of wish someone would just whack some sense into him. Or send him to a gay version of military school, where he could learn not to be such an idiot in public… from experience boot-camp sergeants like RuPaul, Sir Ian McKellen, and Sandra Bernhardt. It wouldn’t be all bad; I hear gay military school has great perks! It’s either that or the pink flamingo drive-by, Christian.

    Hot. I mean, if you leave out Christian himself.

    I think this is a good point, that it can be a little more like family, the involuntary closeness and personal implications. Christian Siriano is the public face of gay in some unfortunate ways, much more so than say Ariel Schrag. So his behavior is obnoxious in ways that Paris Hilton is not.

  28. Linda O
    May 29, 2008 at 8:10 am

    By equating transgender people and drag queens with white trash/trailer parks, he once again gets to make disparaging remarks that most people will simply laugh off. The danger in this is that these remarks are reflective of an ugly truth about the LGBT community in which it isn’t cool to ridicule GL people, but the Bs & Ts are fair game. When we live in a society that largely still believes being transgender is a mental illness or freakshow topic, we should do a little more to protect our own and stand up for those whose voices are often drowned out in the name of comedy.

  29. anacas
    May 29, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Ugh. If only someone could revoke his talking privileges.

  30. Parapluie
    May 29, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Ugh. If only someone could revoke his talking privileges.

    You know how some people get their dogs “debarked?” Maybe we could do that to him. He always did remind me of some old lady’s yappy little frou-frou dog….

    Chris March should have won.

  31. kiki
    May 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Or send him to a gay version of military school…

    Maybe one night in Dr. Frankenfurter’s castle…

  32. Daomadan
    May 29, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Totally jumping on the Chris March-should-have-won-train! :)

    Tim Gunn should have given Christian some elocution lessons before he left the set. ><

  33. Lala
    May 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    This is just reality tv nonsense where any fool can have a say.

  34. exholt
    May 29, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Or send him to a gay version of military school…

    Maybe one night in Dr. Frankenfurter’s castle…

    When DODT is done away with by the US government, Christian can always consider Annapolis. Considering it is in his state and the fact the USN commissioned the Village People to create that song/video to bolster naval recruitment, he should have no problems getting in. ;)

    He’ll also have the bonus of going to the same school as one of the current presidential candidates!! :D

  35. Eliza
    May 30, 2008 at 12:45 am

    I went to high school with him. Everyone I know now thought he was soooo awesome and adorable when he got on Project Runway, despite my repeated assertions that in high school, he was vapid, petty, and kind of a dick. Five years hasn’t changed much about him, it seems.

  36. ate
    May 30, 2008 at 8:22 am

    It hasn’t really been mentioned and i’m not totally confident in my point here but i’d like to mention it to go along with the rest.

    Even though the astonishing, jaw droppingly offensive comments re trans people were originally enough to shock me it was also the ‘white trash women’ that made me blink. Clearly making negative comments about any of the people he did is not on. Particularly when one considers this isn’t just some radical hatemonger but someone parroting ignorant views held by a lot of people.

    But it’s not just trans that he’s hating on. Clearly he thinks “drag queens and trannies” are the lowest of the low in the queer community. And that the equivalent of the lowest of the low are women from poor socio-economic backgrounds with little access to a quality education of any kind in area.

    I kind of think rapists come somewhere in the category of the lowest of the low myself.

    P.s. This guy is some kind of hero to Perez Hilton and this comment has been published on his site with little admonishment. So now one of the biggest internet audiences has heard this and now thinks “oh well he is gay and he says it so it’s totally acceptable for me to continue oppressing trans people.”

  37. jayinchicago
    May 30, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    What’s interesting to me is that, according to some, Christian Siriano *is* “transgender” because he flouts some aspects of normative gender for a man. I guess he never got that memo.

  38. May 31, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Chris March was robbed! I loves me some human hair.

    I am no fashion expert, but I thought his work was more creative than Siriano’s. He also seemed to be a much more endearing personality.

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