Holland's newest top model is tall, thin, and transgender
Tyra Banks crushed the hearts of millions earlier in October when she announced that after 12 years, the time had come to end America's Next Top Model. But fear not: The reality competition series is alive and well in 180 countries around the world—and continuing to break down LGBT barriers.
Holland's Next Top Model named Loiza Lamers its newest winner on Monday, making the 20-year-old blond the first transgender contestant in the franchise's history to take the grand prize, according to Dutch News.
"I'm really at a point where I can say I am very proud to be transgender," Lamers told De Telegraaf. "For me [being on Holland's Next Top Model] is a reward for my transition."
Although Top Model and its worldwide iterations have been criticized for promoting negative body image—over the years the program has kicked one contestant off for gaining weight and another for being too thin—it has long welcomed LGBT judges and contestants. Runway coach J. Alexander—or Miss J., as he is better known—left early contestants giggling about his gender, but his inclusion regularly exposed pop culture audiences to a person who doesn't fit into the traditional gender binary.
Along with several gay and bisexual contestants, Banks and her team also welcomed a transgender model seven years ago, Isis King. Although she did not receive an entirely positive reception from the other contestants—who referred to her by male pronouns, questioned if she should be part of the competition, and openly showed disdain for her—Banks and her team treated King much like they did the other contestants; she was kicked out of the competition a few weeks in.
While King's inclusion was met with some hostility, Lamers said she received overwhelming support after she revealed midway through the series that she was transgender. Monday's finale boasted the highest ratings of the season, according to the country's figures. When Lamers was named the winner and handed a cartoonishly large check, the studio audience erupted in cheers and applause.
To find out more about the transgender community within the modeling industry, watch this video:
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