Caitlyn Jenner looks absolutely stunning on her Vanity Fair cover shoot. I'm very happy that she was able to express her gendered self as fully as she desired, and hope that, in her generous decision to allow the public into her experience, it helps people be more comfortable with transgender individuals in our lives.
But I also hope that people understand that the older, white, wealthy, thin, surgically transitioning, and currently-abled Caitlyn Jenner is not representative of the average transgender person's experience. I hope that her popularity builds sympathy and support for the average transgender person, but that we build into that national conversation acknowledgement of trans men and women who are poor, in prison, pre-op, non-op, not thin, with physical challenges, of color, homeless (often as a result of coming out to family), suicidal, facing physical and emotional violence, not conforming to gendered appearance or behavioral norms, etc. etc. etc.
In other words, I love that Caitlyn Jenner is a face of transgender people in the U.S. I really, really would like her to not be the ONLY face. Because while her process is probably not easy, it is deceptively easy compared to many. I understand that it is easier for the general public to feel comfortable with a trans woman who so beautifully fulfills their expectations of feminine beauty. Sometimes we need that vanguard to open up the way. But it cannot stop at her cover shoot. At some point, the American public needs to get uncomfortable.
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