Laverne Cox Praises Caitlyn Jenner, Cautions Public About Trans Beauty Standards
"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."
Laverne Cox has been moved by the public's support for Caitlyn Jenner.
"I am so moved by all the love and support Caitlyn is receiving. It feels like a new day, indeed, when a trans person can present her authentic self to the world for the first time and be celebrated for it so universally," she writes, noting her own Time magazine cover was published just over a year before Jenner's debut.
"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," Cox writes, adding she hopes Jenner's physical transformation doesn't overshadow her greater, more immaterial contributions to the trans community.
According to Cox, cisnormative beauty standards -- in this context, what's popularly perceived as "feminine" by the non-trans community -- should not necessarily become the definitive appearance of trans people.
"There are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody these standards," Cox writes. "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 informed 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 representations of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities."
"For me it is necessary every day to celebrate every aspect of myself, especially those things about myself that don’t align with other people’s ideas about what is beautiful," she continues. "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 health care, 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," Cox concludes. "The struggle continues…"