An Open Letter to Barneys New York re Transgender Ad Campaign

Dear Barneys:

When it comes to fashion, you've always taken the lead. So when I heard you were featuring transgender models in a spring ad campaign I wasn't the least bit surprised. But I was worried...

I've been an ad guy for almost 20 years, so I know how it works. The more over-the-top and provocative, the more attention the ad gets. I feared your campaign would be sensationalized in order to push the envelope like the Benetton ads of yore. Then I opened this month's issue of Vanity Fair and saw the eight-page insert that began "Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters" and I was ashamed of myself for ever doubting you.

Thank you, Barneys, for getting it right. For portraying transgender men and women as regular human beings. For highlighting the role of supportive people in our lives and allowing our stories to be told respectfully in our own words. And for shelling out big bucks to get Bruce Weber to capture the imagery tastefully in black & white. The only opportunity you missed was not including me in the photo shoot, but I'll let that slide. Had you seen the Facebook photos of me looking dashing in my vintage white dinner jacket, I'm sure you would've called. That said, if you really want to make it up to me, you could start carrying men's shoes in a size six.

Christopher Edwards