Sex = Power = Freedom: Andrew Christian’s Erotic Art Book Inspires Diversity

Author: 
Troy Maillis
Curator: 
Mark's List
Highlighting a plethora of rock-hard bodied Andrew Christian Trophy Boys in various stages of undress, including fan-favorites Arad, Cory and Topher, popular underwear designer Andrew Christian’s provocative, sexually-charged book of fantasy, innuendo and desire is making quite the statement. SEX = POWER = FREDOM isn’t just any adult picture display of naked men created with the sole purpose of getting you off—although it successfully delivers if that tickles your fancy. This controversial coffee table centerpiece, which boasts 200 glossy pages of in-your-face black and white images, culminates in an emotional representation of art, sex, diversity, personal expression and political freedom.

Andrew Christian, who has also made his rounds as a reality television star, spoke with Mark’s List about SEX = POWER = FREEDOM, his admiration for Madonna, the Trump administration and his upcoming book tour.



Let’s talk about SEX = POWER = FREEDOM. Why did you decide to release this kind of book?

This book has been something I have been wanting to take on for many years to give a voice to the ideals and beliefs that I hold dear to my heart. When Trump was elected President, I knew it was important to tear into the subject of how one's openness to his or her own sexual identity relates to emotional freedom and how society’s acceptance of equal rights for the LGBT community relates to political freedom.  When I first envisioned the book, my vision of it was very simple. It was going to be 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 a "sexy photo book" could be so much more and could give me a platform to really express my views toward promoting LGBT empowerment.  As the idea stewed over the next few months, it became even more clear to me that sex equals power and power equals freedom, so I named the book SEX = POWER = FREEDOM.

Madonna got a lot of heat in the early 90s for her book SEX. Did you have any reservations about publishing SEX = POWER = FREEDOM?

Growing up in Fresno, California, Madonna was my hero and inspiration—she wrote her own rules and tore down all the walls that people tried to throw her up against. If people are comparing my book with Madonna's SEX book, then I am honored.  Over the years I have been lucky enough to gain a small voice in the LGBT community and I have come to appreciate that my words and voice do have meaning. If lending my voice to a cause or belief can help even one person feel better about themselves or improve their life in any meaningful way, then all the work and struggle I have gone through to gain that voice has been worth it. I think it's also about me and my company being that beacon of light to LGBT people living in small towns or countries where the LGBT community is not accepted and letting them know there is a way out and a future for them.

With the major political changes we are currently experiencing in the United States, to what extent do you think this book could change people’s opinions on sexual diversity and LGBT issues?

I am not sure it will change anyone's opinion, but hopefully it will reinforce the overall message of my book of LOVE!  We need to take care of each other; we need to be aware and concerned for the struggles of others; and we need to teach compassion and non-judgment. These are some of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life. We all can make a conscious decision to practice this every day. Discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation is passing judgment against them, and it is certainly more a reflection on the person making the judgment than the person being judged.  One message I would like readers to take away from the book is we need to love ourselves and we need to love each other.

There are many out there in the world that still believe that sexual orientation is a choice or a disease and would love to the rid the world of the LGBTI community. We need to remember that we are all like-minded brothers and sisters and we need to stick up for each other no matter where we live in the world. Let’s lift each other up instead of tearing each other apart on social media about things that are petty and inconsequential; let's spend our time thinking about important social and human rights issues that have real meaning in people's lives, and let’s spend our efforts helping those we can.

What do you think Donald Trump and his supporters would have to say about the book? Perhaps you can send a signed copy to the White House.

One message that I believe is important to tell everyone including Trump supporters is Arad's journey to becoming an Andrew Christian model in my book.  Just days ago, Trump introduced the concept of "extreme vetting" and if this had been in place during the last eight years, Arad would surely be dead today.  Arad deserted the Iranian military at the age of 22 and walked on foot through snowy mountains for three days and two nights to escape to Turkey, because he wanted freedom and knew he would be killed by the Iranian police state if he was discovered to be gay. Upon escaping into Turkey, Arad was held in a Turkish prison for six months for having a forged passport. Eventually, after another three years of paperwork, Arad was rescued by the United Nations and resettled in Dallas, Texas as a refugee.
 
Today, under Trump's "extreme vetting" program, Arad would not have been allowed to resettle as a refugee in the USA and he would have been sent back to Iran where he would have been hanged for being a military deserter.  I hope creating the SEX = POWER = FREEDOM book helps get Arad's story out.  For me freedom and happiness are contagious, and I want to help spread hope to other LGBT people who must live in any oppressive environments whether it is a small town in the U.S, or with a family that isn't accepting or in a country like Iran where people aren't allowed even basic freedoms.
 
I also want to raise awareness for the plight of those who live in hostile oppressive counties and help make Americans understand that most people from the Middle East are just like you and me—they want to live in peace. Many good people just like Arad look to the United States for assistance.



Many of the photos are sexually suggestive, but none actually display men engaging in intercourse. Were there any specific rules that you had to follow from the publisher?

Unfortunately, in trying to get my book printed I had many printers reject the project.  It was clear to me that many were rejecting the project because they were homophobic and one was even more blatant as he outright laughed in my face over the subject. When one lives in a big city like Los Angeles, it is easy to forget that most of the world still doesn't accept the LGBT community and will do whatever they can to silence us and our advancement into mainstream society.  Although the rejection of my "homosexual" book was shocking, and having people laugh in my face was even more insulting, it made me more determined than ever to see it through to print and fully execute my first amendment rights.

Where do you draw the line between risqué art and pornography?

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, what one person may think is pornographic and taboo another may consider totally acceptable. One important message of my book is non-judgment.

Were there any concepts that were too risqué to make the final cut?

I did have trouble finding a printer who would print the original version, which went much further than the current Silver and Gold Editions that I ended up printing; but I have found a printer that is willing to produce my original, and much more risqué, Black version that I hope to release this later this year.

Who came up with the ideas for the scenes?  Do any of them represent your personal fantasies?

Although the images in the book appear overtly sexual, if you read the text you will understand it is really a political statement. I enjoyed creating this mash-up of sex and politics and wanted to present these concepts in a novel way, so I chose a coffee table photo book, which I hope will help further this important conversation.



The book has 200 pages of beautiful, artistic shots, but do you have that one favorite photo or scene?

I really love everything in the book, but If you look closely you will find a couple of pages of guys with Jewish star and Christian cross tattoos kissing other guys with Muslim symbol tattoos.  I think this speaks to the message of love in the book.  Love will always win—we just have to let it and mutual support and non-judgment are the first steps.

How instrumental has INDIEGOGO been for the creation and publication of SEX = POWER = FREEDOM?

When I started this project I had a vision for the book, but wasn't sure how I would make it into a reality. I was amazed to see how involved the fans became in the Indiegogo campaign from very early on.  I was shocked and humbled that in only 60 days I raised over $105,000 with over 1,000 contributors, and I was thrilled that with their help I was actually going to be able to create this book and go on this journey with them.  To show my appreciation to everyone that contributed to the project I listed their names in the book, and I am so proud of each and every one of them for believing in me and my message.
 
The funds that we raised will allow me to take this message of LGBT empowerment on a world-wide book signing tour over this next year.  I would love to be able to meet as many people as possible that contributed to the project along with those that want to stand with me in promoting LGBT equality in the USA and around the world.
  
You’re about to go on a book tour starting in February. How are you preparing to travel cross country for the next few months?

We have only been booking venues for two weeks and we already have over 35 appearances confirmed, so I am very excited to have the opportunity to travel around and meet the thousands of people who participated in funding the book and who shares my message of LGBTI unity and empowerment.  I am also excited to give away the Gold Limited Edition copies that I had printed, which aren't available for purchase anywhere. One can only be gifted these special editions at one of our book signing or charity events.

The Andrew Christian SEX = POWER = FREEDOM book was made possible through a grassroots INDIEGOGO campaign, with more than 105K raised through 900 contributors with an average contribution of $100. Many contributors will receive a special edition GOLD COLLECTOR'S EDITION BOOK which can only be obtained at a book signing event after the official book tour launches in February 2017. Silver Edition books will be available for sale on AndrewChristian.com and local retailers for $30, along with SEX = POWER = FREEDOM t-shirts, tank tops and backpacks. A special collector's edition UNCENSORED black & white calendar is also available.  A color SEX = POWER = FREEDOM calendar is now available on AndrewChristian.com as pre-promotion for the book and comes free with a purchase of $25 or greater ($5 Retail) during December.
 

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