Underwear and clothing giant, Andrew Christian, made a stop in Albuquerque to promote his new, provocative book, Sex=Power=Freedom. Teresa Ewers of Pride & Equality had the opportunity to sit down and interview him prior to his appearance at Effex Nightclub downtown.
Sex=Power=Freedom. What was the inspiration?
“Sex = Power = Freedom” is something I have been wanting to undertake for many years. It gives voice to the ideals and beliefs that I hold dear to my heart. A person’s openness to their sexual identity directly relates to their emotional freedom. Furthermore, society’s acceptance of the LGBT community constitutes our political freedom. When Trump was elected president, I knew it was important to tear into these notions in my heart and share them publicly. My initial vision of “Sex = Power = Freedom” was simple: a book of sexy photos of my half-naked models -- as one might expect from Andrew Christian. But as the idea developed, I realized that this book could be so much more: a platform to express my views toward promoting LGBT empowerment – a view that I share with the majority of Americans.
Why is sex necessarily an important thing to talk about?
My artistic vision for the book was to show all facets of sexuality, without any judgment or morality. I didn't consider anything to go too far for the book. I think it's especially important at this time in history that Andrew Christian stand up and show LGBT sexuality in a positive representation. My intent is to get people talking about how SEX = POLITICAL FREEDOM. You are only politically free if you can fuck who you want without any negative consequences, such as being fired from your job or, in some counties, jailed, tortured, or killed.
Do you feel this book will just add to the perception that the LGBTQI community is all about sex?
Sex is a major part of any relationship – gay or straight. I’m not afraid to admit that, and I am not afraid to showcase that in my work. For too long homosexual relationships and physical affection between two men have been taboo. Even today, you would be hard pressed to find a physical relationship between two men on any daytime or primetime program on any major network. The LGBT+ community is not all about sex, it is about love. That is what my book is about, too. The overall message of "Sex=Power=Freedom" is that we need to love ourselves and love one another.
You've been dealing with the human form for years now. In the book you say, "We are all works of art, some of us are just harder to understand." Is that what Andrew Christian is, a work of art?
Everything we do at Andrew Christian is art. From the design of the technology in our underwear to our outward approach on political issues. It’s how we express ourselves. I truly believe that we are all works of art. In the book I say this because even those that oppose the LGBT community were handcrafted by their unique upbringing and personal experiences. We are all exclusive owners of ourselves, and the work is never done.
We are living in a different world after the election. How do you feel about moving from an Obama presidency to a Trump presidency?
The past three weeks have been pretty telling. Though the religious freedom bill has been shot down for now, the Trump administration is rampant with discrimination. People, no matter gay, straight, bi, transgender, should be scared for their futures and the futures of those they love. Trump is clearly determined to make changes to our country that citizens do not agree with. Watching him time and time again try to repeal the Supreme Court’s decision to block his Muslim ban has been horrifying. It seems that once he gets an idea in his head, his stubbornness will not allow him to let go. I am sorry for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are undergoing such hatred right now. Hate crimes have risen exponentially since the election for both Muslims and the LGBT community. If our president will not stand up against the hatred, it is up to us to do so.
What is your biggest fear with this new Administration?
My biggest fear is that things will continue to go in the same direction they have been over the past three weeks. A lot has changed since the inauguration, and it is time for more politicians to stand up for the American people. So far, celebrities and a small handful of corporations have made public statements against Donald Trump. We need political allies in Washington who will hear our voices and act upon them. I am afraid that hate crimes will continue to rise. I am afraid that public education will greatly diminish. I am afraid that more people like Arad will be sent back to their home countries and will be killed because of it.
What should we as a community and community-allies be doing right now to protect our freedoms?
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. Let’s spend our time thinking about important social and human rights issues that have real meaning and spend our efforts helping those we can. 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.
What do you want people to walk away with when they read and view the book?
The LGBT community, especially our youth, need a medium to remind them to be concerned about our LGBT brothers and sisters living in hostility around the world. SEX=POWER=FREEDOM does this without lecturing, without diminishing the intelligence of our audience — it peaks people’s interest and hopefully motivates them to be outspoken and keep the conversation going. I am not sure if “SEX=POWER=FREEDOM” will change anyone's opinion, but hopefully it reinforces the idea that we need to take care of each other. We need to be aware of others and empathize towards their struggles. We need to teach compassion and acceptance.
One word to describe "Sex Power Freedom?"
Learn more about Sex=Power=Freedom at www.andrewchristian.com