The transgender Orange Is the New Black actress says physical-beauty standards aren't the most important

By Tim Nudd
Updated June 02, 2015 09:15 AM
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Credit: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

The world has been abuzz about how gorgeous Caitlyn Jenner looks on the cover of Vanity Fair. And that’s great, says Laverne Cox – as long as people also recognize Jenner’s deeper beauty.

The transgender Orange Is the New Black actress has written a thoughtful post about Jenner’s Vanity Fair photos, in which she reflects on traditional standards of physical beauty and how they are not always attainable – or even desirable – for many transgender people.

“I am so moved by all the love and support Caitlyn is receiving,” writes Cox, 31. “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.”

But celebrating physical beauty can be a slippery slope, Cox says.

“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,” she writes. “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.”

Cox, who was on the cover of Time magazine a year ago and has spoken about Jenner’s transition before, says she started the #TransIsBeautiful movement to “celebrate all those things that make trans folks uniquely trans, those things that don’t necessarily align with cisnormative beauty standards. For me it is necessary everyday to celebrate every aspect of myself especially those things about myself that don’t align with other people’s ideas about what is beautiful.”

She closes with a reminder of what’s really important to trans people, and it has little to do with beauty at all.

“I hope, as I know Caitlyn does,” she writes, “that the love she is receiving 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 …”