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A Model Who Worked For Rihanna’s Fenty Line Tried To Cover Up Her Transphobia By Saying She Was Trans

In a bizarre and confusing story, Carissa Pinkston, a model who previously with Savage x Fenty and Marc Jacobs, has finally admitted to lying about being transgender. The 20-year-old model, who rose to prominence modeling for high-profile brands now says she is taking “full responsibility” for what she said. 

The saga started earlier this year when a former high school classmate retweeted screenshots of transphobic comments Pinkston made on Facebook.

On her personal Facebook page, Pinkston allegedly had posted statements such as “being Transgender does NOT make you a Woman. It makes you simply Transgender” and “In a biological context there are Males and Females. This is the world in 2019”. According to Buzzfeed, a former classmate shared the images after finding the statements “utterly disappointing”. 

After Pinkston’s comments went public, Pinkston was dropped from Elite Model Management, the modeling agency that represented her. She faced widespread criticism online as fans and internet-users grappled with her transphobic comments. 

Things got even more complicated when Pinkston took to Instagram to “come out” as transgender after being fired from her agency.

Her statement read:  “I wasn’t ready to come out about it yet but today I got fired and I’ve been receiving hate mail and death threats ever since so I’m being forced to tell the truth. I’m transgender. I transitioned at a very young age and I’ve lived my life as a female ever since. It’s been very hard to keep this secret but what I said about Trans-Women is a direct reflection of my inner insecurities and I have come to realize that I am a woman… WE ALL ARE!”. She captioned the statement with a heart emoji and hashtagged it #lgbt. 

But, people who had known Pinkston all her life came forward claiming that Pinkston was not, in fact, transgender. 

One former classmate said she was “appalled” that Pinkston lied about something “so sensitive” and that she did so to cover up her own history of transphobia. 

When the news broke that Pinkston was lying about being transgender, this time the backlash was sharper and more widespread than before. Fellow models took to Twitter to publicly criticize her for co-opting the identity of such a marginalized group in order to gain clout. Followers of her Instagram expressed their disappointment in her. 

After the controversy reached a fever pitch, Pinkston claimed in an interview with Buzzfeed that she initially lied about being transgender because she was receiving death threats.

“People don’t know the entire story,” Pinkston said. “Everyone was saying my original comment was transphobic, but you can’t expect everyone to know everything about a culture or movement if they never have taken the time to be fully educated on it”. She added that she was “not transphobic” and only lied because she “panicked”.

“The only reason I had lied was because of the death threats,” said Pinkston. “And I was scared, so I thought they would accept me only if I said I was trans”. 

But Pinkston doubled-down on her claim that she was part of the marginalized group, saying that she “felt like a trans person” because she was “really bullied” in high school.

“I know what it’s like to be bullied and picked on for being different. And I wanted to fit in a community,” she said.  “Just in that moment, I didn’t know what to do”.

Unsurprisingly, people online are not happy with Pinkston having appropriated a trans identity to avoid criticism for her transphobic comments.

It’s one thing to be bullied in high school and feel isolated because of it. It’s another thing to be the bully and then claim victimhood as a form of protection from (warranted) criticism. 

This person summed-up our thoughts towards this whole mess perfectly:

“Yikes” is right. We’d venture to say that Pinkston has a lot more learning to do–not just about the trans community, but about how to humble yourself and apologize without going into defense. 

The frustration is real. There are so many other ways to use your mistakes as a learning opportunity. Instead, Pinkston used it as an opportunity to lie and co-opt a movement. 

This Twitter user recognized the shaky defense of aligning yourself with a marginalized community because you were “bullied in high school”.

That’s not how this works…That’s not how any of this works!

This Twitter user made a really good point of how Pinkston took advantage of a community that faces discrimination from people like herself:

It really is offensive to all of the activists and organizers who have worked so hard to establish rights for themselves. 

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