9 Incredible Examples of Transgender Beauty

June 6th 2015

Emma Bracy

Caitlyn Jenner is here, and as many have pointed out, she looks good. On June 1, her Vanity Fair cover was revealed, and it seemed to stun the nation with her beauty much more than shock the nation with her transformation. Media coverage of Jenner has gone from searing speculation to celebration almost overnight, and it certainly feels like we’ve made some progressive steps towards equality and acceptance for all.

Activist and star of "Orange Is the New Black," Laverne Cox recently echoed this sentiment on her blog, in a beautiful reaction to Caitlyn’s coming out. “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,” Cox wrote. 

She also made some powerful points about beauty, access, and privilege

Cox points out that while yes, Jenner is gorgeous, we should remember that she has chosen to embody certain cisnormative standards of beauty. “There are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody these standards,” she writes. “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.” 

Cox's essay helped me remember that Jenner's story is only one of many, which is “why we need diverse media [representations] of trans folks to multiply trans narratives [...] and depict our beautiful diversities.” 

No single person can or should serve as a representative for an entire community. Which is why I’m grateful for the #TransIsBeautiful hashtag. According to Cox, the hashtag celebrates all those things that make trans folks uniquely trans, those things that don’t necessarily align with cisnormative beauty standards.

Looking through the hashtag on Instagram presents a much more robust picture of the trans community, which comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, sexualities, and stages of transition. Trans people come from all walks of life and from a range of privileges (or lack thereof). “It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up,” Cox writes in her essay. 

I hear you, Laverne. 

So let’s continue to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner, because, yes, she is fly! And her representation is important. But let’s also celebrate trans people -- and various gender expressions -- everywhere. Their representation is important too. If we ever want to wipe out transphobia, we must begin looking at all transgender and gender nonconforming people, and say “I see you. And you’re just as gorgeous as Caitlyn Jenner.” Here, I’ll start: 

1. Ashlynn is beautiful. Embrace it girl!

2. The quote says it all. Thank you for sharing, Nora. 

3. Erin’s caption is vulnerable and honest, and I’m sure we can all relate to the feeling he shares. I know I have felt like that at times, too, Erin. 

4. Yahaira used the hashtag to highlight Ruby Corado. Ruby, a trans woman, is the founder and matriarch of the nonprofit Casa Ruby, which serves to help transgender people achieve a better life. 

5. Bry points out that transitions do not happen overnight. 

6. Rayne’s caption says a lot about who he is -- and it’s more than just “trans.”  

7. Jordan’s caption calls attention to the vulnerability associated with raising one’s voice. Thank you for reminding us to celebrate bravery as well as beauty, Jordan. 

8. Jason’s comment touches on the discomfort of living in a body that doesn’t feel like you can create. The hashtag also remind us about the power of pronouns. Remember: Always respect an individual’s pronoun choice. 

9. Nev’s caption is important because trans people may have added challenges in the workplace, and often face discrimination if they don’t “pass.” But whoever said there’s a “right” way to be a lady? Or a man, for that matter?