Caitlyn Jenner made her stunning debut on the cover of Vanity Fair yesterday, and there's no doubt this move made a bold and important statement for the transgender community. But Jenner represents just one part of a diverse community facing different challenges, and Laverne Cox took to her Tumblr to create the #TransIsBeautiful hashtag, and to make some noteworthy points about the transgender community outside of Hollywood. Here's some of what she had to say:
Many have commented on how gorgeous Caitlyn looks in her photos, how she is "slaying for the Gods." I must echo these comments in the vernacular, "Yasss Gawd! Werk Caitlyn! Get it!" . . . I love working a photo shoot and creating inspiring images for my fans, for the world and above all for myself. But I also hope that it is my talent, my intelligence, my heart and spirit that most captivate, inspire, move and encourage folks to think more critically about the world around them. Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful but what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities. The love and devotion she has for her family and that they have for her. Her courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly. These things are beyond beautiful to me.
A year ago when my Time Magazine cover came out I saw posts from many trans folks saying that I am "drop dead gorgeous" and that that doesn't represent most trans people . . . What I think they meant is that in certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards. Now, there are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody these standards. More importantly many trans folks don't want to embody them and we shouldn't have to to be seen as ourselves and respected as ourselves. It is important to note that these standards are also infomed [sic] by race, class and ability among other intersections. I have always been aware that I can never represent all trans people. No one or two or three trans people can. This is why we need diverse media representstions [sic] of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities . . .
Most trans folks don't have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people. We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class. I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks. Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc. I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, that the love she is receiving can translate into changing hearts and minds about who all trans people are as well as shifting public policies to fully support the lives and well being of all of us. The struggle continues . . .