Caitlyn Jenner’s bold debut into the limelight last week via Vanity Fair has induced a full-fledged media frenzy — one that has been received, for the most part, positively by U.S. press. But while the LGBT community and its allies rejoice over this undeniable triumph for trans visibility, community members are taking center stage to speak out and advocate for issues of the transgender community that remain as pressing as ever.
Orange is the New Black star and transgender activist Laverne Cox wants people to glean more from Jenner’s cover than awe over her physical beauty.
Cox wrote a congratulatory message to Jenner on her Tumblr blog, while also acknowledging that the media’s fixation with Jenner’s physical appearance does a disservice to honoring her other more admirable qualities, as well as those of other trans women, especially those who do not conform (or, want to conform) to cisnormative standards of white beauty.
“Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful,” Cox pens, “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 actress’ Orange is the New Black costar Selenis Levya, better known for her portrayal of Gloria Mendoza, took to Huffpost Latino Voices to offer her thoughts on the cover seen ’round the world.
Levya, whose sister is an unemployed transgender individual, wrote that although her initial reaction to the cover was a joyous one, she was soon struck by the lack of actual implications it would have on the lives of women like her sister, and disadvantaged transgender people at large.
“The reality is that most transgender people continue to struggle with acceptance. Most will not be celebrated and put on magazine covers… I feel sadness today because the majority of the trans* community struggle to simply get decent health care, never mind public acceptance.”
Keep reading after the jump…
Judging by social media outcry, the glitz and glamour of “Call Me Caitlyn” left something to be desired for many trans* people. Taking to her Tumblr early last week, Seattle-based blogger Crystal Frasier sought to ameliorate just that.
Frasier coined #MyVanityFairCover as a means to encourage fellow transgender folk to show off the scope of their collective experiences, rather than the “very narrow picture the mainstream media tends to show.”
What followed was an amazing outpouring of trans* visibility, by trans* women, men, and non-binary folk, making their own stunning debuts.
To see the D.I.Y. cover stars for yourself, click here.