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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > October 2019 > WHEN GUS MET LAITH


Cliff Joannou brings together two former Attitude cover stars to talk about trans rights, and violence in the community

Photography Santiago Bisso Fashion Joseph Kocharian

Gus wears shorts, by Versace at Matches Fashion, socks, by Nike, trainers, by Kurt Geiger Laith wears shorts, by Versace at Matches Fashion, socks, by Sockshop, trainers, by Fila

Gus Kenworthy & Laith Ashley

Olympic skier turned actor Gus Kenworthy was passing through a London airport in the spring of 2016 when an issue of Attitude caught his eye. On the cover was model Laith Ashley, who had recently spoken out about his identity as a trans man. Just two months earlier, Gus had featured on the cover of the magazine himself, after coming out as gay in an interview with ESPN. “I thought: ‘Oh this guy’s so hot’,” Gus tells me as we chat post-shoot on the eighth floor of a Downtown LA office block in the sweltering Californian heat. “I was honestly surprised that Laith was out. A lot of time, especially when you’re in the public eye and you’d think that in this day and age that more people would be out and open and accepting, a lot of folks are still in the closet. “There’s fear that coming out might be detrimental to your career, so I was surprised that he was so out and vocal. I thought that was pretty cool.”

The pair struck up a friendship via social media, engaging in discussions on topics as varied as queer culture and issues around violence against trans people. When Gus’ role in the new season of American Horror Story: 1984 was announced, Attitude approached him for a follow-up cover shoot. Gus had one request: to use the opportunity to highlight an issue that’s becoming increasingly pervasive in society, namely the violence and prejudice that the trans community faces as it becomes increasingly visible.

It made perfect sense to finally bring Gus and Laith together for their respective second cover stories, this time in conversation on the importance of using their voice to help elevate those in the LGBTQ community who are often overlooked and too often left behind.

”Black trans women are constantly being attacked” Laith

Cliff: As LGBTQ people, we all share common ground in our journey to finding a place in a heteronormative world.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Renée Zellweger is Judy Garland, Drag Race's Ross Mathews and Gus Kenworthy & Laith Ashley! Plus: Shura, Rainbow Riots India, and rugby's Chris Robshaw.