Vanity Fair tweeted a preview of its July cover yesterday, featuring the Olympic gold medalist and reality star previously known as Bruce Jenner. With this cover, introducing Caitlyn Jenner, two major U.S. magazines will have featured a trans person on their covers in the past year. The other is Laverne Cox, who appeared on the cover of Time last May, just one year and three days before Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover.
Known for her role as Sophia Burset on Orange Is The New Black and for gently schooling Katie Couric on why you should never ask about somebody else’s genitalia, Cox wrote a post on her Tumblr yesterday in response to Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover. She says, “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!’”
Cox also asks that we go beyond Jenner’s “amazing and beautiful” looks—which were captured for Vanity Fair by none other than Annie Leibovitz—pointing out that on her own Time cover, people said she was “drop-dead gorgeous.” She’s happy to accept that compliment, but noted that:
…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. … 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 says that not all trans people have the privileges that she and Jenner do, and asks that people focus on getting them access to healthcare, jobs, and safety. For her part, Jenner also discussed her gratitude for trans pioneers, including Cox. Jenner also told Vanity Fair today how she decided to break with Jenner/Kardashian tradition and choose a non-K spelling of Caitlyn.