The "Orange is the New Black" star shared some thoughts on representation in the trans community and people started responding.
One of the very cool and okay things that happens to women is that they're constantly judged by their looks. This is the case with transgender women as well. Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover has sparked a lot of conversations, but one of them is about how even though support and visibility for transgender people is at an all time high in the mainstream media, the women representing them are still fitting pretty closely with our society's narrow vision of beauty. Yeah, Caitlyn Jenner looks great and very feminine, but she's not what all trans women look like.
Laverne Cox, who appeared on the cover of TIME, wrote a long post in response to Jenner's reveal on Tumblr:
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.
Crystal Frasier was inspired by Cox's words and kicked off a meme on Tumblr, posting her own version of a Vanity Fair cover, writing:
I've felt frustrated and useless and overwhelmed by opinions on transgender women and how we're “supposed” to look if we want to be taken seriously. But not all of us adhere to those standards. Not all of us want to. Not all of us can. Some of us do, but only out of fear. Some of us do but we aren't sure why. And whether we fit those standards or not, we're beautiful, and we all deserve to feel beautiful, and be acknowledged by the world. Admiration and praise for trans women shouldn't only come if we fit a narrow definition of beauty. As a good friend of mine said Monday “Where's my Vanity Fair cover?”
I want that hair. (via Ramble On Amazon)
More and more people have jumped on board and are posting their covers that show the diversity of looks within the transgender community, using the hashtag #MyVanityFairCover. They're pretty great:
Looking good, everybody, in all your varieties.