#TransIsBeautiful and #CallMeCaitlyn

By now, you might have already seen Caitlyn Jenner’s photo shoot and cover on Vanity Fair. I am so happy for Caitlyn – living to your authentic truth is unbelievable freeing and wonderful. And having the exposure of transitioning late in life is also wonderful – it allows more people to understand that it’s never too late to come out of the closet.

It’s really heartwarming to see all the support and love being thrown in Caitlyn’s direction but it’s just as important to be critical of and acknowledge the fact that Caitlyn has access to resources that not many trans people (especially trans women) have access to. I should say that this isn’t an attack on Caitlyn herself but instead something to be mindful of when talking about trans issues. Laverne Cox put it brilliantly in a blog post about #CallMeCaitlyn, saying that

It is important to note that these standards are also informed by race, class and ability among other intersections. 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. I started #TransIsBeautiful as a way 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. #TransIsBeautiful is about, whether you’re trans or not, celebrating all those things that make us uniquely ourselves. 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.

It’s so incredibly important that with all of this support for Caitlyn that the rest of the trans community is also lifted up and supported. My post from the latest #TransDayOfVisiblity this past March is just as relevant today as it was a couple months ago. It’s still incredibly important to educate yourself about trans issues (and Google still should be your best friend as far as beginning that journey). And it’s so important to be happy that Caitlyn has come out but also remember that women like Caitlyn have access to many many resources that not every trans person does.

Sophia Banks brought up some good points, tweeting that:

 Sophia has so many great points about not only the media attention towards Caitlyn but her own life as a trans woman in Canada. Some of her tweets ended up in an article from The Advocate about how trans people are welcoming Cailtyn to Twitter. (Of course not everyone has been so welcoming…)

Ultimately I think it’s incredibly important when people like Caitlyn Jenner come out and let the world know something so personal because we definitely need more trans people in the media. But at the same time, I think it’s possible to be happy for Caitlyn while also critical of the level of access she has as a rich white woman and how there’s so much more work to do for the rest of the trans community. And it’s important to also discuss the violence and homelessness that many trans people (especially trans women of color) experience on a regular basis. 

There is so much more that goes into this that I could quite literally write for hours about this but in the end, I’m happy for Cailtyn and I have so much love for every single trans person out there. And to all the trans people reading this, I love you so much. I have so much appreciation for my trans siblings because I get how lonely and difficult it can be. I haven’t come out as trans to my family (especially after being called “too militant” in my correction of my mom’s pronoun usage for Caitlyn Jenner).

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