Summer is officially here, and we’ve decided to celebrate with not one, but two stunning new cover stars, in the form of American model Laith Ashley and British canoeist Matt Lister.
26-year-old Laith has been adjusting to fame since signing to a model agency and becoming one of the first transgender models to feature in a national US campaign. Having struggled with his gender identity for years, he tells us how therapy helped him conquer his inner demons, as he poses for a glorious new shoot by Bruce Weber.
“I would self-destruct, I would disappear because I didn’t want to be here”, says Laith. “For a long time I prayed to God to let me die. I’d think I hate life, hate being trans, hate the world. I was very negative.
“I still struggle with that from time to time but remind myself I’m pretty blessed. I have a family who are supportive. They may not agree with who I am, but they do love me. I had the privilege of going to school. I have the privilege of this experience. I love who I see in the mirror now.”
Meanwhile, British canoeist Matt Lister tells us about leaving his beloved sport behind for good this summer and what comes next: namely, a ground-breaking new role as LGB ambassador for the British Athletics Commission and a (very understandable) new career in modelling.
The 24-year-old, who came out publicly as gay in 2012, says that sportsmen still have a responsibility to be open about their sexuality for the sake of others still struggling for acceptance.
“I would never shame someone for not coming out because it’s a personal choice and it’s a difficult thing to go through, but I feel as if it’s a necessity for the LGBT community because you’re in the public eye”, Matt says.
“People are watching you, even people who aren’t involved in sport that maybe want to get into it, but they don’t try because they think it doesn’t fit them.”
You can read Matt and Laith’s full interviews and check out their stunning new shoots in the new issue of Attitude, available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude.
It’s in shops next Wednesday (May 25), and print copies are available to order from newsstand.co.uk.
Also in Attitude’s June Issue, alongside all your usual news, reviews, fitness & travel:
- Queers & the cuts: In a special feature marking a year of Conservative majority rule, we look at the toll austerity is taking on the LGBT community.
- We catch up with US pop starlet Ariana Grande as she releases her hotly anticipated third studio album.
- Titan of musical theatre Bernadette Peters looks back over a glittering career as she prepares to return to the UK – and tells us why she has no time for diva behaviour.
- The Fifth Harmony girls talk boys, gay pride and X Factor as they continue to take over the airwaves with the fruits of new album 7/27.
- We meets the stars of Holding the Man, the most powerful gay romantic drama since Brokeback Mountain.
- Mathew Horne spills the T on playing gay in Sky’s detective series Agatha Raisin.
- MTV’s Maya Jama sees whether she can pass for a homo in How Gay Are You?