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Sunday, January 30, 2011

#NotATranny2011


One of my favorite video games as a child was an obscure Sega CD title called Snatcher. The game is a Japanese riff on Blade Runner (my favorite film), wherein the android Snatchers murder innocent individuals and steal their identities in order to live undetected in society.

Well, friends, I've been snatched.


A week before I left for Sundance I woke up to a find that the usually-empty Google Alert of my name was now full of tabloid headlines about "Elle Schneider", a pre-op male-to-female transsexual who had involved herself in a relationship between celebrity daughter Kelly Osbourne and male model Luke Worrall.

To be crystal clear: I am not a transsexual. Neither do I have no involvement with any of these people. Also to be clear: I have no problem with transsexuals. I've been an LGBT ally for over 10 years, and in case you're upset that I'm so blatant in discussing what should be this person's personal business, I'm not usually in the habit of outing people.

But unfortunately one of the more sour aspects of this scandal is that "Elle Schneider", with no qualms, revealed both her pre-operative status as well as her legal name (Reynaldo Gonzales) to the tabloids for the express purpose of encouraging the sensational headlines that would draw attention to her name. Except, of course, it wasn't her name. It was mine.

And so the past two weeks have been a nightmare. There have been over 100 re-posts of the original exposé, some of which have included my photo, erroneously pulled from Google Image search. I've received links on Facebook, angry tweets from strangers, and my roommates were contacted by our friends in the entertainment industry "just checking" to make sure I didn't have a penis. (FYI, you know who you are, and you owe me a drink!)

The situation might seem funny, but it's also deeply distressing and I didn't ask for it. Someone else did, but used my name to do so, so I'm forced to address it in order to keep my reputation intact. I do take this very seriously, as humorous as the situation might seem on the surface.

I can't help but notice that--as more links appear with Z-list gossip sites regurgitating each others' stories--since this past Wednesday "Elle" is now being referred to as "model Elle Schneider". Suddenly things become clear, and I can assume that "Elle", in releasing information about her affair with a pseudo-celebrity, is attempting to create and cash in on 15 minutes of fame in order to pursue a modeling career. This also explains why her once-deleted Facebook account has reappeared full of low-quality glamor shots.

For my final word of clarity: There has never been a model with my name, and I don't approve of "Elle" trying to start a career trading on the name that I've used professionally for years. As of this date, there is not a single publicly-available photo associated with my name and the fashion industry that was not taken by me as a professional photographer. If there had ever been a model with my name, I would know about it. Because my name is my business.

So where do things go from here? Well, I'm not sure. I may have to take legal action. I'm still exploring my options. I do appreciate the support I've gotten from friends. If you want to help out, you can also take this opportunity to check out some of my work. Thanks everyone! <3

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