Laverne Cox: Trans is more than skin deep


Laverne_Cox_writes_about_caitlyn_jennerTransgender actress Laverne Cox has spoken about Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out; reminding us that her transition is about more than how good she looks.

Cox, who is best known for her role in Orange is the New Black, last year became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine to massive media hype; much like Jenner’s sensational Vanity Fair cover.

In a blog post, the star noted that many of the comments about Jenner have been about “how gorgeous Caitlyn looks in her photos.”

And while she completely agrees, this made her 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.”

“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,” wrote Cox.

She revealed that when her Time magazine cover came out she saw posts from many trans people saying that she is “drop dead gorgeous” but that she doesn’t represent most trans people.

“…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 informed by race, class and ability, among other intersections,” explained Cox.

“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.

“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 healthcare, 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 colour who are poor and working class.”

Cox said she hopes that ultimately all the support she and Jenner have received from the public “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.”

“The struggle continues…” she added.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. francis
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend