Laverne Cox has taken to her Tumblr page to praise Caitlyn Jenner’s courage in standing up for the transgender community. The Orange is the New Black star is no longer the brightest light in the trans constellation, following Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover debut this week. But, according to Cox, that’s just fine–in fact, it’s kind of the whole point.
Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of Time magazine almost exactly one year ago, accompanied by the headline “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The year since then, Cox notes, has been all about discussion, acceptance, and change:
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. 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!” But this has made me reflect critically on my own desires to ‘work a photo shoot’, to serve up various forms of glamour, power, sexiness, body affirming, racially empowering images of the various sides of my black, trans womanhood. 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. (It was news to be that I am drop dead gorgeous but I’ll certainly take it). But 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 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….
The entire entry is a bit long to re-post, but is well worth a read; head over to Cox’s Tumblr page to check it out.
Season Three of Orange is the New Black debuts in just under two weeks, on June 12. E!’s yet-untitled reality show on Caitlyn’s transition will premiere on July 20.
(Photo credits: WENN; Vanity Fair)