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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 31, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 13
Andrew Christian, men's underwear designer:

'I have a stronger voice now'
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Andrew Christian, men's underwear designer:

'I have a stronger voice now'

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

ANDREW CHRISTIAN
SEX=POWER=FREEDOM
BOOK-SIGNING EVENT
UNDERU4MEN
March 30


'I feel like I have a stronger voice now,' Andrew Christian, perhaps the best-known male underwear designer next to Calvin Klein said to SGN at his underU4men book-signing event March 30. 'People listen when I tell them what I am about.'

Christian and I reminisced about how much has changed since I first interviewed him at that very same E. Roy St. and Broadway Ave E. store some eight years ago. Then, a slightly younger mostly unknown designer who'd done so-so as a contestant on 'Project Runway,' Christian had just embarked on his new project: men's underwear. Fast-forward almost nine years later and he is the undisputed king of men's underwear; particularly among Gay men.

Christian wasn't in town on Thursday to promote his underwear line, however (although it is impossible to differentiate the man from the project or his many, many hunky models that accompany him whenever he makes a public appearance), instead, he was in town promoting his book (and signing copies of) Sex=Power=Freedom.

The book, available in a collector's edition of silver or gold, is an art/coffee table book filled with Andrew Christian's exclusive models. It features 200 pages of B&W photos.

'This book will push the limits of sexuality, create conversation, and stir quite a bit of controversy,' Christian says of the book.

He says the book 'isn't just sexy photos ... it explains that SEX [sic] is more than SEX ... it's power, it's emotion, it's creation, it's personal expression, it's political freedom ... it's HAPPINESS.'

For Christian, creating the book has been an endeavor into bringing positive awareness about LGBTQ empowerment as it relates to political freedom around the world.

In Seattle, the book is a hit. Minutes after the book-signing began on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., all of the Gold edition Sex=Power=Freedom books were sold with just a handful of Silver editions left.

Not only is the book beautiful to look at, Christian is quoted throughout the book explaining his views on his personal convictions, what sex means to him as a Gay man, and much more.

Christian (who is both Latino and Gay) continues, 'There are many people in the world that still believe that sexual orientation is still a choice or a disease. These people would love to rid the world of LGBT+ people. As a community, we need to remember that we are all like-minded brothers and sisters; we need to stick up for each other no matter where in the world we live.'

'Let's lift each other up instead of tearing each other down,' said Christian. 'Let's spend our time thinking about important social and human rights issues that have real meaning and spend our efforts.'

One story that Christian tells is of Arad (one of his many popular Trophy Boy models) and his journey to America.

'If Trump's 'extreme vetting' had been in place during the last 8 years, Arad would surely be dead today,' he said. 'In search of freedom, Arad deserted the Iranian military at the age of 22 and walked on foot through snowy mountains for three days and two nights. He knew he would be killed in the Iranian police state if it were discovered that he were Gay.'

Upon escaping into Turkey, Arad was held in prison for six months for having a forged passport - an illegal move he made in order to save his own life.

'Eventually, after another three years of paperwork, Arad was rescued by the United Nations and resettled as a refugee in Dallas,' says Christian.

He now works for Christian and his life has changed immeasurably - not only professionally, but personally, as he now enjoys the freedom to be out and proud as a Gay man. Through his work with Christian and the other Trophy Boy models Arad has embraced his sexual orientation wholeheartedly.

Arad accompanied Christian at the March 30 underU4men book-signing event as well as the after party at R Place.

Although the images in the book appear overtly sexual, the text presents an important political statement that presents activism in a novel way.

'My artistic vision for the book was to show all facets of sexuality, without any judgment or morality,' says Christian. 'I didn't consider anything 'too far.' What one person may think is pornographic and taboo, another may consider totally acceptable.'

Christian told SGN that though the important message of his book is non-judgment, he faced quite a bit of judgment during the process of printing his work.

'One printer outright laughed in my face over the subject, and it was evident to me that many were rejecting the project because of their internalized homophobia,' he said. 'Some will do whatever they can to silence us and our advancement into mainstream society. The rejection of my book was shocking; having people laugh in my face was even more insulting, but it made me more determined than ever to see the project through and fully execute my first amendment rights.'

'I think it's especially important at this time in history that Andrew Christian stand up and show LGBT sexuality in a positive representation,' said Christian. 'We all have to do our part to show those that oppose our efforts to seek equal rights under the law that we are here and we will be heard. Right now, the LGBT community needs to band together and use our collective voice to ensure that our civil rights are not eroded by people who would be all too happy to silence us. If you want to be heard, you must be visible. I am hoping this book and book-signing tour provides another avenue of visibility for our cause.'

Sex=Power=Freedom is available at www.AndrewChristian.com

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