The impact of the Caitlyn Jenner cover story on trans women like me

Last Monday, like almost every morning, I made my coffee and logged onto the Internet to catch up on the news. What I saw on my homepage was an image of a woman posing seductively in a bathing suit on the cover ofVanity Fair.I didn’t know who she was until I read the caption, “Call me Caitlyn.”

At first, I thought “how cool!” and “she looks great” and then I moved on to another website. Wouldn’t you know, there she was again, and then on my Facebook page. Again, again and again…there she was! By the time I’d finished my coffee, my phone was full of messages from friends and family asking if I’d seen Annie Leibovitz’s portrait of Caitlyn Jenner onVanity Fair.

Seen it? I couldn’t escape it. As I headed into work, I was well aware that, on this day, I’d be the transgender again. I’d be the one someone would tell a friend “she knows” or he “works with.” That Monday, I was reminded that I am different.

A year ago, I came out publicly as a transgender woman. I was featured in an article inMetro,where I work in advertising sales. I’m not delusional. Like most people who are transgender, I know I’m outside the norm. I’ve heard people like me called “the ultimate minority.” Still, after gaining acceptance from my family and coworkers, on many days I quite often forget that I am different. I simply feel like me.

In the days since I saw Diane Sawyer interview Jenner on TV and then the cover shot onVanity Fair,I’ve thought a lot about this sudden “trans-awakening.” Everyone was only talking about Caitlyn’s appearance. Conversations that began applauding “her courage” inevitably shifted to “Caitlyn looks great” or “it’s no wonder, she has the resources that so many of us will never have.”

Initially, I found this disturbing, but couldn’t help but wonder if Caitlyn and her publicists wanted it that way. Why the swimsuit glam shot? Any magazine in the country would have given her the cover regardless of what she wore.

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