Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have a few things in common -- they're both public figures that have broken molds, and the world considers them to be "beautiful." Cox, however, wants to make sure that that's not the only word we bust out when referring to transgender people who are brave enough to be who they are.
"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," Cox wrote in a Tumblr post reflecting on Jenner's recent Vanity Fair appearance, in which she went from being known as "Bruce" to adopting the name "Caitlyn."
"What I think they meant is that in certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards," Cox said. "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."
Translation: Not everyone has access to Annie Leibovitz, a team of stylists and the money for clothes and other amenities -- also, not all trangender people would not WANT to look like Caitlyn and Laverne. That's not who they are. And we should recognize those people as well.
"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," Cox added. "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."
In short, it's wonderful to see people like Caitlyn Jenner gets all the love, respect and Jessica Lange comparisons they deserve -- but acceptance doesn't stop at recognizing someone's beauty. It doesn't stop at sharing her snaps and talking about how she's slaying that old Hollywood look. It's a great, start, yes -- but, as Laura Jane Grace once told us, there's still more work to be done.