How A Graphic Novel About A Dog Tells A Groundbreaking Story Of Trans Sex Work

“The Pervert” uses nostalgia-inducing characters to “fictionalize the trauma” of emotionally grueling stories.
Culture and Arts
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Hang These Glorious Trans Activist Posters In Your Local Public Bathrooms

An initiative called Arts Not Parts is fighting bigotry with beauty.
Arts
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Al Gore: Donald Trump Panicked The Pentagon With Trans Military Ban Tweets

“People were saying, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to war.'”
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James Corden Rips Donald Trump’s Trans Military Ban In The Most Musical Way

🎤 Trump wants to seem like a manly man, overcompensating for his tiny hands 🎤
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Tomi Lahren Uses Military Trans Ban To Slam Obama. J.K. Rowling Wasn’t Having It.

The “Harry Potter” author broke out her U.S. History Remembrall.
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Celebs Express Anger After Donald Trump Announces Ban Against Trans Troops

St. Vincent called the POTUS an “odious ogre.”
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The Trans Teen Artist Fighting Discrimination With Wearable Works Of Art

“Adulthood is bullshit,” multi-hyphenate creative Hunter Schafer told Dazed when she was selected as one of the Dazed 100, a list that highlights the next generation of youth culture. “And I think some of the most successful and radiant people are those who have been able to get back to that instinctive and child-like part of their selves again.”

It’s an amusing comment coming from someone who, at 18 years old, has accomplished more than many twice her age. Schafer, who has been drawing since she can remember, is a gifted illustrator and comic artist, tweaking the styles of influences like Tim Burton and Skottie Young to create aqueous ink and watercolor images that combine moody fantasy with teen angst. “My parents were really good about not sitting me down in front of a TV,” Schafer told The Huffington Post. “They really nurtured the creative part of me.”

When Schafer got an Instagram account, she started exploring the potentials of photography. Today, with almost 5,000 followers, she uses the platform to hone her artistic vision and weave visual stories about herself and her community. “I became more aware of an aesthetic that I was interested in and wanted to uphold,” she explained. “I realized that just drawing things wasn’t enough for me; I could convey my voice artistically through other mediums outside of two-dimensional, surface work.”

Influenced by David Bowie, Schafer is a quickly evolving artist driven by experimentation, self-discovery and play. Her works break down binaries of all kinds ― between exterior and interior, personal and political, authentic and artificial, serious and fun. 

Schafer is also an activist, specifically advocating for trans youth. Having transitioned at 14 years old, Schafer has actively protested North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that don’t reflect their gender identity. After the bill passed, Schafer joined a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and began sharing her experiences through art and writing. Though HB2 was technically repealed in March, the compromise passed in its place perpetuates the discriminatory views that propelled the original law, and does nothing to protect trans populations from prejudice or abuse. 

As a high school student based in North Carolina, Schafer has firsthand knowledge of the emotional damage and physical danger inflicted upon trans teens when they are denied the basic liberty of using a bathroom. “Every time I use a public bathroom, I have to make a choice,” she wrote for Teen Vogue. “Do I break the law, or do I disregard my comfort and face the risk of harassment and violence?”

Initially, Schafer viewed art and activism as separate parts of her life. But more recently, she’s begun to experiment with the ways creative expression and political resistance can bolster one another. For her high school senior thesis project, Schafer is working on a series of garments aimed to fight discrimination against trans communities, exploring how imagination can wrestle the body away from binary understandings of gender.

One of Schafer’s recent wearable creations is a pair of bulky red underwear with two large hands covering up the wearer’s genitals. Lettering across the unorthodox undergarments reads: “Peel away every perception.” On the item’s backside is a black-and-white line drawing of a wrinkled face, lips pursed in what resembles judgment. The garment speaks to the absurdity of discerning one’s identity with one particular body part we rarely even, if ever, see.

“The piece is dealing with how people perceive me versus how I feel,” Schafer said. “I am encountering new facets of being trans every day. I need to process that through my work. They’re almost like journal entries.”

Another biographical ensemble, titled “Puberty,” is a yellow two-piece featuring felt cutouts of writhing torsos placed atop the wearer’s breasts. The outfit, with its exaggerated, proportions, visualizes the changes a body undergoes during puberty, or gender transition. Awkward, unruly and ultimately beautiful, the outfit visualizes the experience of inhabiting a changing body. 

Schafer also communicates her personal experiences through illustrations, like this 2015 series on Rookie, which navigates the difficulty of dressing up for formal events like school dances, where a strict gender binary was especially enforced. “I longed to escape, and to express what I felt inside me — not what was expected of me,” she said in a statement.

So far, Schafer has enjoyed incorporating the spirit of activism into her art. “I want to do something meaningful with my work,” she said. “Being able to translate my experiences as a trans person into my artwork, and using my work as a platform to support marginalized communities in general, those are things that are really important to me now. They’re definitely becoming part of my artistic identity.”

Aside from the many media she’s already successfully dipped into, Schafer is beginning to explore modeling and modern dance as other modes of storytelling. In part, she credits the internet for eliminating rigid boundaries between artistic disciplines and encouraging young artists to create without limitations.

“The internet is changing the young artistic scene because we have such a fast way to share and react and create our own platforms,” Schafer said. “I think the internet has empowered young artists to create these online personas and carry out aesthetics that they want to try out. We can receive direct feedback from other young artists, react to them, and share and spread our ideas. It’s completely youth led and that’s what is so wonderful.”

Schafer is currently finishing up her final year of high school and is planning to take a gap year before college to live and make work in New York City. Her contributions as an artist and activist are wildly impressive, regardless of the fact that Schafer is still a teenager. Thankfully, the young creative force shows no signs of slowing down or growing up anytime soon. 

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Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Under Fire For Comments About Trans Women

Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has found herself at the center of a controversy over gender identity after comments she made about transgender women during an interview, which can be viewed in the clip above, recently went viral.

Speaking earlier this week with the U.K.’s Channel 4, Adichie, who is promoting her new book Dear Ijeawele Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, said, “When people talk about, ‘Are trans women women?’ my feeling is trans women are trans women.” 

Her argument appears to stem from her idea that because many trans women have been assigned and raised male from birth until whatever point they decided to transition, she believes the male privilege they may have received fundamentally sets their experiences apart from those of cisgender women.

“I think the whole problem of gender in the world is about our experiences,” she said. “It’s not about how we wear our hair or whether we have a vagina or a penis. It’s about the way the world treats us, and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”

While she did also add that she supports transgender people’s existence, saying they should be “allowed to be,” she ultimately asserts that their experiences should not be “conflated” with women’s experiences. 

“I don’t think it’s a good thing to talk about women’s issues being exactly the same as the issues of trans women because I don’t think that’s true,” she said.

Adichie, who is perhaps best known for her critically and commercially acclaimed book Americanah and a guest spot on Beyoncé’s track “Flawless,” was almost immediately called out on Twitter for her comments.

Raquel Willis, a Black queer transgender activist and the communications associate for Transgender Law Center, offered an especially thoughtful and nuanced response to Adichie’s comments via a series of tweets she posted on Friday night:

Adichie did not immediately reply to a request from The Huffington Post regarding the comments she made during her Channel 4 interview.

Update: Adichie posted the following comments on her Facebook page on Saturday morning:

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The Supreme Court Decided Not to Decide on Trans Bathroom Rights

More delays for Gavin Grimm’s case.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Ohio’s Drag And Trans Performers Dazzle In New Documentary

An acclaimed new documentary is putting the drag kings, drag queens and transgender performers of Columbus, Ohio in the national spotlight.

The Huffington Post got an advance look at “Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens,” which opened in select theaters March 3, with an exclusive clip that can be viewed above. In it, the documentary’s subjects explain the challenges of navigating queer nightlife in the Buckeye State. “Being embraced by straight people has not only challenged their viewpoints, but it’s also challenged ours,” one man says. Adds another: “I think [nightlife] really breaks down, little by little, every bit of stereotyping there is.”

Columbus boasts a queer-friendly, if unassuming, reputation; though New York and San Francisco dwarf it for scope, the city ranked 15th in a 2015 Gallup poll in regard to U.S. cities with the highest LGBTQ populations. As a whole, however, the Midwest has consistently leaned conservative. That dichotomy piqued the interest of director Gabrielle Burton, who was particularly fascinated by Columbus’s “incredible, thriving” drag scene.

“It’s obviously unexpected and surprising to a lot of people… that this is happening in the middle of the Midwest,” Burton, who runs Five Sisters Productions, a film production company, with her four real-life sisters, told The Huffington Post. “There are a lot of assumptions that people make about [LGBTQ] issues or certain types of people, that they’re only in big coastal cities. That’s just not true… If they’re here, they’re going to be everywhere, and that’s something we have to acknowledge as a country.”

“Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens” took Burton six years to complete. “I wanted it to only be in the voice of the performers,” the director, who opted against using a narrator, said. “I wanted to capture the diversity in the performances and experiences of people here.”  

Given that the LGBTQ community is facing an uncertain future under President Donald Trump, Burton said she ultimately hopes her film “can contribute, in some way, to the importance of remembering that everyone is human and everyone is deserving of equal human rights.”

“I hope that people will come to see the film and then enter into conversation with more of a sense of respect and compassion for all people, whatever their identity, sexuality or biology,” Burton, whose next project will explore the relationship between parenting and gender identity, told HuffPost. “Our base line should be that all humans deserve equal rights, and hopefully that film can contribute to that in some way.”

“Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens” opened in New York and Columbus, Ohio on March 3, with screenings that include appearances by cast members. In addition, the film will be available on iTunes and other streaming platforms March 7. 

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Stunning Photos Follow Cuba’s Drag And Trans Stars From Day To Night

When photographer David Tesinsky first heard about Malu, a transgender woman who has achieved somewhat of a celebrity status in her native Cuba, he instantly wanted to meet her. 

Tesinsky, who hails from the Czech Republic, has always highlighted what he describes as “subcultural” groups in his work; he has previously documented homeless Parisians, youth activists in Iran and queer rights advocates in Belarus. He told The Huffington Post that when he finally made it to Cuba in January, he was immediately struck by Malu’s determination to live authentically, in spite of the political and social challenges the Cuban LGBTQ community continues to face.

A performer at a local theater, Malu is one of three subjects that Tesinsky captured for his “Before Night Falls” series. The others, Natasha and Alina, identify as gay men. Still, both challenge gender stereotypes in their own right, making a second living as drag performers in Havana nightclubs. 

“I’m inspired by contrast,” Tesinsky told The Huffington Post. “That somebody could just be selling fruits and vegetables during the day for a living, and then can turn into a queen of the evening on stage at night,” he said. He was struck by what he describes as a lack of a distinctive “community” in the traditional sense as far as queer Cubans are concerned. “They keep it very low profile,” he said. 

Tesinsky, who plans to visit Israel and Mongolia next, hopes his Cuba photographs will shed some light on how LGBTQ people are exploring gender and identity on the stage “in a country where these things haven’t been tolerated” at all until recently. 

Check out “Before Night Falls” below, and view more of Tesinsky’s work here

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Dustin Lance Black Calls ‘Bullsh*t’ On Hollywood’s View Of Trans Actors

Count Dustin Lance Black among the Hollywood heavyweights who are unsatisfied with the treatment of transgender people on the big screen.

The Oscar-winning “Milk” screenwriter is currently in the midst of a media blitz in support of his seven-part ABC minseries, “When We Rise,” which premieres on Feb. 27 and chronicles the LGBTQ rights movement throughout history. When it came to casting the series, Black told PrideSource that he could officially “call bullsh*t” on those who say they have difficultly finding talented transgender performers to portray trans characters on film and television. (You can view the trailer for “When We Rise” above.) 

“First and foremost, when I’m casting any role, I’m gonna look for somebody who can bring a part of their experience to the role. They still have to be a great actor, so if I can’t find anyone in the world who shares some experience that they’re about to portray in this character, who’s also a good actor, then I’ll happily go for someone else,” the 42-year-old told PrideSource’s Chris Azzopardi. To those who say it’s difficult to find skilled trans stars, he added, “They should call our casting directors because they found unbelievable trans actors and actresses, and it was actually tough to decide who to cast.”

Recalling the struggles he had developing “Milk” years ago, Black said he was especially proud to find a home for “When We Rise,” which also stars Guy Pearce and Mary-Louise Parker, on ABC. The network’s decision, he added, feels like a particular subversive one, given that the results of the 2016 presidential election cast a dark cloud on the future of LGBTQ rights

“We’ve come to a place where we can perhaps talk the same language of family between these two Americas, and perhaps change hearts and minds in a time when that seems absolutely, critically necessary,” he said. “You want to change a mind in that other America? You gotta lead from the heart, and you do that by telling stories.”

He went on to note, “There’s not a lot we think we have in common right now, but both Americas have family stories, and we can both be moved by each other’s family stories.”

Check out the full PrideSource interview with Dustin Lance Black here.

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Giro Trans E70 HV Road Cycling Shoe – Men’s Size 42.5 Color MatteBlack/Black

Giro Trans E70 HV Road Cycling Shoe – Men’s Size 42.5 Color MatteBlack/Black


UNBEATABLE FIT, PERFORMANCE AND VALUE The Giro Trans E70 HV Road Cycling Shoe for men offers timeless cycling style and the latest materials in a fit created specifically for wide/ high volume feet. It starts with a perforated Evofiber(TM) upper that conforms to your foot, and Giro’s acclaimed Super Natural Fit footbed with adjustable arch support to help optimize comfort and pedaling efficiency. Then they added a robust Easton EC70(tm) carbon composite outsole with replaceable heel pads to get the most out of your pedal stroke, without sacrificing long-term durability. Super Natural Fit Easton Carbon Fiber Aegis Anti-Microbial Precision Fit Last Upper : Evofiber(tm) breathable microfiber; Strong and secure ratcheting buckle closure (replaceable); Offset strap “D-ring” at mid-foot Outsole : Easton EC70 carbon composite; Replaceable heel pad Footbed : Super Natural Fit Kit with adjustable arch support; Aegis anti-microbial treatment Weight : 295 grams (size 42.5) *Please Note : Cleats are not included. Compatible cleats may be purchased separately here. Size 42.5 Color MatteBlack/Black
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Sephra Belgian White Chocolate Mousse Mix (Trans Fat Free)

Sephra Belgian White Chocolate Mousse Mix (Trans Fat Free)


Finally!! 5-Star Executive Chef desserts for everyone! Simply add Sephra’s Belgian White Chocolate Mousse with milk, stir, cool and serve. This imported Belgian dessert will impress and delight your guests. The exquisite flavor is truly awesome. 1 Belgian White Chocolate Mousse pouch. Transfat Free. Pouch makes approximately 30, 4 oz servings. Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable Fat, Fullfat Milk Powder, Dried Glucose Syrup, Gelatin, Milk Protein, Modified Starch, Emulsifier, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors (FD&C Yellow 5 & 6). May contain traces of nuts.
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This Hair Stylist Is Helping Trans Youth Transform Into Their Authentic Selves

A powerful new documentary is following the stories of six transgender and gender-nonconforming youth as they share their thoughts and experiences while receiving affirming makeovers.

Throughout “Transformation,” genderqueer hair stylist Madin Lopez of ProjectQ discusses the nuances of these six individuals’ lives while transforming their images through the power of makeovers. Topics tackled include non-binary and gender-queer identities, queer homelessness and community building among LGBTQ people today.

“Affirmative action has a new face after the election results,” Lopez told The Huffington Post. “We have to take action in order to create affirmation. If you’ve ever felt like the other, I hope that this film will inspire you to fight for visibility. Your voice is unique, use it!”

Check out the trailer for “Transformation” above. The documentary will be available for viewing on MTV’s Facebook page beginning at 10:15 pm ET on Thursday night.

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Lawyers Are Stepping Up to Help Trans Individuals Who Need Name Changes and ID Before 2017

The hashtag #TransLawHelp was started Wednesday morning.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Out Online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube

Out Online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube


Trans people are increasingly stepping out of the shadow of pathologization and secretiveness to tell their life stories, share information and to connect with like-minded others, using YouTube as a platform. Out Online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube explores the digital revolution of trans video blogging, addressing ‘trans’ in its many meanings and configurations to examine the different ways in which the body in transformation and the vlog as a medium intersect. Drawing on rich, virtual ethnographic studies of trans video blogging, the author sheds light on the ways in which the video blog (or ‘vlog’) as a multimodal medium enables trans people to tell their stories with the use of sound, text, music, and pictures – thus offering new ways to construct and archive bodily changes, and to revise the story endlessly. A groundbreaking study of the intersection between trans identity and technology, Out Online explores the transformative and therapeutic potential of the video blog as a means by which trans vloggers can emerge and develop online, using the vlog as a site for creation, intervention, community building and resistance. As such, it will appeal to social scientists and scholars of cultural and media studies with interests in gender, sexuality and embodiment.

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S0ny 135mm f/2.8 Smooth Trans Focus Lens SAL135F28

S0ny 135mm f/2.8 Smooth Trans Focus Lens SAL135F28


The S0ny 135mm f/2.8 Smooth Trans Focus Lens is a manual focus prime lens that uses S0ny s Smooth Trans Focus (STF) technology for a very unique effect on defocused light sources changing the way defocused areas appear depending on how it is adjusted. The lens is constructed of 8 elements in 6 groups which all help to deliver sharp clear photos. It has a minimum focusing distance of 2.9 and a front-end filter diameter of 72mm. With a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and minimum of f/31 this lens high speed means you can capture images in darker conditions using faster shutter speeds and lower ISO sensitivity. Smooth Trans Focus (STF) employs a special apodization element that controls the parts of the image that are not in focus. This does not affect the focused part of the image only what is out of focus and is set independently from the camera s focus and aperture via the STF ring. Due to the unique characteristics of the STF technology focusing with this lens is achieved manually rather than using the camera s auto focus system. The circular aperture blades of this lens aid in producing smooth backgrounds. Because the aperture blades form a near circle at the wide openings used for low-light shots spot-light sources have a pleasing circular defocused effect.

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92 Gorgeous Photos That Show What It Really Means To Be Trans

 

Last summer, HuffPost Gay Voices asked transgender people to share photos of themselves on Twitter using the hashtag #WhatTransLooksLike in an effort to show just how diverse — and beautiful! — the trans community is.

We were absolutely gobsmacked by the response we received. In fact, people were so excited about #WhatTransLooksLike that we received countless requests for us to do another call out.

So, that’s exactly what we did. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. In the 12 months since our first #WhatTransLooksLike story, the “transgender tipping point” has tipped even further. 

From Caitlyn Jenner’s gorgeous Vanity Fair cover and emotional ESPY Awards speech to Jazz Jenning’s reality TV show debut to news that transgender soldiers may soon be able to openly serve in the military, we’ve continued to see stunning wins for the trans community in the last year.

Of course, there’s much work left to do. Trans people still face inordinately high levels of prejudice and are regularly targeted for violence. And while representations in the media of what it means to be trans are becoming more varied and nuanced, for the most part, the images, stories and experiences of trans people still do not receive the attention they deserve.

So, for all of those reasons — and because we simply wanted to showcase another collection of beautiful photos — we bring you #WhatTransLooksLike2.

 

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FDA Tells Food Industry to Stop Using Artificial Trans Fats

Agency gives manufacturers three years to remove them from all foods sold to Americans
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Trans Women Discuss Sisterhood And The Violence They Experience Every Day

Sisterhood is a revolutionary act for all women.

A new documentary series called “This Is Me,” created by WifeyTV with the help of executive producer Jill Soloway, explores the issues trans and gender non-conforming people face everyday. In the most recent episode called “And My Sisters,” artist/actor Van Barnes, performance artist Miss Barbie-Q and artist/filmmaker Zackary Drucker sit down to discuss their friendships and the daily threat of violence they experience as trans women.

“Trans women are born witty, thank God. It’s part of our survival,” Barnes says at the beginning of the video. In the video, the three women sit around a table creating “prayer pumps” to memorialize a sister of theirs who was recently murdered for being trans.

“It’s a revolutionary act to be an out, visible trans person,” Drucker says, to which Barnes added: “It’s a revolutionary act just to walk down the street [as a trans person].”

With one gender non-conforming person being murdered every 48 hours around the world, the violence these women face is very much real — and it informs their behavior.

“I feel like I have to walk around with my fists up again,” Miss Barbie-Q says. She goes on to recount a time two months prior when she was assaulted by a man on the subway, simply for the way she expresses her identity.

“I have to gauge people because if they’re staring at me for too long, I think ‘Do I have to watch my back when I walk away from this person?’ Because violence can go from zero to 90 in a heartbeat,” Barnes says.

She also tells the other women about a time she was assaulted by five men on the street: “One of [the men] put his arm out and clotheslined me, right at the neck… He grabbed me, picked me up, body slammed me. Every single one of those guys took a turn body slamming me,” Barnes said. “Every time I was getting lifted into the air I thought, ‘I hope they don’t paralyze me.’ And nobody came to my rescue.”

“How many trans people are going to have to die on the street before change happens?” Miss Barbie-Q asks the other women in the video. In January and February of 2015 alone, seven trans women were murdered in the U.S.

A sentiment towards the end of the video sums up how important these women’s friendships really are: “These relationships give me a sense of stability, they give me a sense that things are possible, they give a sense of wholeness.”

Head over to WifeyTV to watch more of the “This Is Me” series.

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Exclusive: Go Behind the Scenes of Thompson Square’s New Music Video for “Trans Am”

A 14-hour shoot, no dressing rooms, and a handler to open and close the car door that's part of your music video? Just another day in the life for Thompson Square's Shawna and Keifer Thompson…




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Laverne Cox’s Reaction To Caitlyn Jenner Reveals The Impossible Expectations Trans Women Face

There has been a din of voices — many of them cisgender — weighing in on Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair reveal. The majority of commentary has been support and praise. Aside from the usual string of transphobic comments from Internet trolls, most reactions have been positive, revolving around Jenner’s bravery, beauty and “realness” — concepts that the cis mainstream often clings to when embracing trans women. So when Laverne Cox posted a Tumblr blog yesterday celebrating Jenner, but also unpacking the politics of beauty surrounding Jenner’s warm reception, it was an interesting moment to gain real perspective from a trans woman.

“Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful,” Cox wrote, “But what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul.”

caitlyn laverne

Cox argued that the emphasis on trans women’s beauty can be dangerous, writing, “There are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody [cisnormative beauty standards]…we should be seen as ourselves and respected as ourselves.”

Too often, mainstream acceptance is based on how traditionally feminine a trans woman can look, and often, a lack of material access, or a lack of desire to appear traditionally feminine makes it harder to achieve that acceptance. There’s no denying that wealth and whiteness inform Jenner’s positive and groundbreaking public reception.

What is perhaps most interesting about Cox’s commentary, is how just beneath the surface it seems to address (and maybe even critique) the parallels and differences between her own journey and Jenner’s.

“I have always been aware that I can never represent all trans people,” Cox writes, a sentiment she’s expressed before to address the criticism she’s received surrounding her celebrity.

Cox has an enthusiastic following, but she’s been called out in the past for being a “bad” feminist or a “bad” trans activist. In 2010, She got flack for allegedly perpetuating patriarchal ideals of womanhood on the reality series “TRANSform Me,” where she and two other trans women instilled cis women with confidence via feminizing makeovers that included getting rid of “boy clothes that women should not wear.”

In April, she appeared nude in Allure magazine, and the photo shoot was both praised as an empowering moment for trans women of color, and drew ire from feminist critics, most notably the blog feministcurrent. Blogger Meghan Murphy wrote: “So we are to believe that…achieving a ‘perfect’ body, as defined by a patriarchal/porn culture, through plastic surgery, then presenting it as a sexualized object for public consumption equates to ‘radical self-acceptance?”

At her talk at The New School last October with bell hooks, the feminist author praised Cox as a “goddess for justice,” but in the same breath accused her of conforming to Eurocentric and patriarchal ideals of beauty with her high heels, designer dresses and signature blonde wigs.

Jenner, on the other hand, has not received nearly as much criticism about her traditionally feminine appearance. Some have suggested that there’s a double standard in the way Jenner has been accepted vs. how Cox has been, that as a white woman Jenner has been afforded less scrutiny and more accolades, and that her cover photo (as Marc Lamont Hill put it on Twitter) has “smuggled in the same old cis/Eurocentric narratives about womanhood.”

Of course, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Jenner’s transition is ultimately a good thing, and it makes sense. She’s older, she was once a beloved Olympian who represented the epitome of hypermasculinity, and has been a reality TV star connected to one of the most talked-about families in America for the last nine years.

But whether intentional or not, the image of Cox’s Time magazine cover beside Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, speaks volumes. The timing of Cox’s blog post, and its simultaneously celebratory and critical tone, sparks questions about how the narratives of visible trans women are constructed. The Jenner buzz has a lot to do with celebrity culture and the current conversation around trans people, but it also brings up questions about race and privilege that have yet to be addressed in a meaningful way.

And yet, it’s difficult to know where and when it’s right to leverage these kinds of critiques. Did Cox’s essay detract from Jenner’s history-making moment? As it critiqued the beauty-conscious culture that informed support for Jenner, was it also critiquing her glamorous look? It’s hard to say.

Defending herself last year against bell hooks’ accusations that her feminism is compromised by her highly feminine presentation, Cox said: “This is where I feel empowered, ironically, and comfortable. I think it’s important to note that not all trans women are embracing this, but this trans woman does. And this trans woman feels empowered by this.”

Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, similarly, is an empowering moment — even as we complicate its implications. That, perhaps, is the biggest takeaway from Cox’s essay. The expectations put on the current group of visible and successful trans women, both white and WOC, are becoming increasingly unrealistic.

Why is it the responsibility of trans women, as they knock down doors, to also subvert gender norms, to smash the patriarchy, and to defy deep-seeded standards of beauty? It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. Cox, Jenner, and all trans women should have the freedom and the agency to make their own decisions, and to walk in their own truths. There’s a larger conversation to be had, of course, about what Jenner’s Vanity Fair spread means going forward: how it will trickle down to less privileged and visible trans people, and if it will in fact effect political change. Caitlyn Jenner has cited Laverne Cox as an inspiration to her, and in spite of everything, there’s a power in that. Today, Jenner has not only graced the cover of a respected mainstream magazine and garnered the support of millions of people. Finally, she is being seen, and heard, on her own terms.

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Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Laverne Cox Weighs In On ‘OITNB’/’Transparent’ Trans Writer Debate

The creators behind two of today’s hottest queer-championing shows, “Orange Is The New Black” and “Transparent,” recently got into a little tiff at the New Yorker Festival over whether trans people should be writing and acting out trans stories.

“Transparent” showrunner Jill Soloway argued hiring trans writers is “absolutely necessary” when telling an authentic trans story, while “OITNB’s” Jenji Kohan said a truly great writer can write for any character.

Another voice joined the conversation when one of the biggest faces of the trans movement, “OITNB” actress Laverne Cox, spoke with HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill about the MTV documentary on transgender youth, “The T Word.” Asked about Kohan and Soloway’s difference of opinion, Cox explained:

I think that it is really important that trans folks are in positions of power in terms of creating our stories. I think that’s crucial. I think it’s vital. I don’t think you necessarily need to be trans to bring humanity to trans characters. I think you have to be human and understand that we are human beings too, beyond our bodies and beyond anything sort of salacious.

Watch the full segment with Laverne Cox and stars from “The T Word” here.

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Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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5 Places Trans People Exist

5. Social Media Networks

2014-03-25-20140220Facebook_New_Gender_Options0a727thumb.jpg

In today’s world, social media networks have become places where people can customize and cultivate their true identity on their own terms, which is particularly beneficial if their surrounding environment does not accommodate them. Such is the case with Facebook, as well as other places like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Social media have turned the Internet into a social hub, housing a conglomerate of different gender identities and spaces that perhaps do not have a place to exist in the external world.

4. Entertainment

Laverne Cox of Orange Is the New Black has unquestionably set the bar for transgender characters within today’s hit TV series as a reoccurring character with her own life story (rather than a redundant sob story). Orange Is the New Black is paving the way for new TV series to do the same, and ABC Family’s The Fosters has taken up the challenge. Furthermore, TV personalities such as Piers Morgan and Katie Couric are doing more TV segments on transgender issues, thus increasing trans visibility within pop culture (despite the ignorance that these segments may entail). And let’s not forget Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Felicity Huffman in Transamerica, Daniela Sea on The L Word, and even Chloë Sevigny’s androgynous character in If These Walls Could Talk 2.

3. Sports

After the recent Winter Olympics, we are still faced with the reality that not one openly transgender athlete has ever competed in the Olympics. Needless to say, athletics might be one of the harshest arenas for transgender people to break into. However, this hasn’t stopped transgender athletes from competing at high levels. Today transgender athletes are taking center stage not just with their athletic prowess but with their bravery and their fierce determination to set the sporting world right. Such athletes include MMA fighter Fallon Fox, former NCAA college basketball player Kye Allums (the first openly transgender NCAA college basketball player), current NCAA college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig, and Crossfit competitor Chloie Jonnson (who is fighting Crossfit’s decision to bar her from competing as a woman). Transgender athletes are not only competing within their sport but competing for a space for all transgender athletes within the sporting world.

2. Fashion

The fashion industry has never been wary of pushing boundaries, including the boundaries of gender. Gender nonconformity is not only becoming commonplace in the fashion world but is now becoming the epicenter of high fashion and innovation. From Barney’s New York’s spring 2014 campaign featuring only transgender models to the rise and visibility of androgynous and transgender models to the growing demand for clothing lines such as The Handsome Butch and Saint Harridan, fashion is where gender has no bounds.

1. Homelessness

Although progress is occurring, homelessness continues to have a disproportionate presence of transgender individuals (compared with the general population). The percentage of homeless people who are transgender and/or non-binary is so staggering that many would agree that it is at epidemic proportions. However, with the continued visibility of transgender individuals within pop culture, and with the growing number of spaces and opportunities provided within our society, we can decrease this percentage for the better.
Style – The Huffington Post
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