On her Tumblr Tuesday morning, Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox applauded the widespread of support for Caitlyn Jenner, but also urged us to remember that there is plenty of work yet to be done when it comes to trans issues.
"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!'" she writes.
It was just about a year ago that Cox was featured on the cover of Time magazine trumpeting "The Transgender Tipping Point." Cox's cover was met with a similar rapturous applause and Cox says while she appreciates the support, the trans experience is much more than a dramatic physical transformation.
"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," 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. 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."
Cox also recognizes Caitlyn and her own privilege, one that is not afforded to many members of the trans community.
"In certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards," Cox acknowledges. "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."
Following the reveal of Jenner's Vanity Fair cover, many people noted Caitlyn's resemblance to Jessica Lange. In fact, the American Horror Story actress was even asked about it during an interview with The Daily Beast. "Oh really?" Lange said when they mentioned the resemblance. "That’s so wonderful. Well, now I’m going to have to look for that picture."
Just as no one person can completely represent their entire community, neither Jenner nor Cox can represent each and every trans person, a fact Cox notes in her post. But, she says, she hopes that increased exposure will encourage even more people to tell their own story.
"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," Cox writes. "Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc. I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, 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."
Cox closes with the hopes that her and Jenner's stories will make things easier in some way for all trans people.
"Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have," she says. "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."