Caitlyn Jenner's 'Vanity Fair' Cover Is Stunning, And Here Are 7 More Transgender People Who Would Rock Their Own Magazine Covers
It's official: Caitlyn Jenner is here, and she is stunning. In a cover for Vanity Fair shot by the one and only Annie Leibovitz, Jenner has made her public debut in the most glorious way possible. Similarly to Laverne Cox's TIME cover last summer, Jenner's Vanity Fair cover is history-making — and it's hopefully just one in a long line of important magazine covers to come.
Why does this particular cover matter so much? “People are trained to respond to the presence of people in certain spaces with certain connotations," wrote Bustle's Lauren Turner when rumors of Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover began circulating towards the end of last week:
Someone on the cover of Vanity Fair is almost implicitly meant to be considered beautiful and important and very valid as a human, because those are the kind of people who end up on the cover of Vanity Fair. When a space like that broadens their inclusivity, those internalized responses people have to what they see on those covers can suddenly become a powerful tool for the very groups that were once marginalized by being excluded from spaces like that. People will see Jenner on this cover and possibly become more accepting of the idea that this, too, is what a beautiful woman looks like.
And not just a beautiful woman — a beautiful person. A capable person, an intelligent person, and… well, just a person. We still have a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ acceptance, both in our own country and in the world — but Jenner's magazine cover, and Cox's, and ad campaigns fronted by transgender models like Lea T and Andreja Pejić, and every other piece of visibility, helps.
Here are seven other trans people we'd like to see on the covers of magazines — whether it's Vanity Fair, TIME, or any of the other myriad print publications who can use their influence for progressive means.
1. Aydian Dowling
Although Aydian Dowling has only recently arrived on the general public's radar, he's been making waves for years — first as a YouTuber documenting his transition, then as an activist and entrepreneur, and now recently as a model. Known for his recreations of iconic images like Adam Levine's nearly-naked photo from 2011, Dowling is currently one of the top contenders for Men's Health's “Ultimate Guy Search” — which, should he win, would land him on the cover of the magazine, making him the first trans man in history to do so. Heck and yes.
2. Tyler Ford
Tyler Ford, who identifies as agender and prefers the pronouns “they,” “them,” and “their,” made a splash on the second season of The Glee Project; now 24, they have gone on to become a staff writer for Rookie and a regular contributor for MTV, as well as an advocate for queer, trans, and asexual youth. Their work frequently covers their experiences as an LGBTQ person of color, adding a powerful voice to an extremely important conversation. Definitely cover-worthy.
3. Hari Nef
Both brilliant and beautiful, model Hari Nef was signed to IMG just last week. IMG also represents Valentijn De Hingh, another trans model, so as Bustle's Jessica Willingham commented, the news that Nef had joined their particular roster wasn't exactly surprising; it does, however, demonstrate the growing representation of trans people in the modeling world, which can only be a good thing.
4. Calpernia Addams
There is pretty much nothing Calpernia Addams can't do. A musician, actress, performer, and activist, she completely blows my mind. Also, her rendition of “Mein Herr” from Cabaret — which she recorded after shooting a Cabaret-inspired campaign for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics in 2013, is one of my favorite things ever.
Addams' relationship with PFC Barry Winchell and his murder at the hands of a number of fellow soldiers was portrayed in the movie Soldier's Girl. She doesn't write much about Winchell on her website — as she puts it, “I'd rather keep the private things private” — but their story is so, so important to be aware of.
5. Lucas Silveira
Lucas Silveira fronts the band The Cliks, and I really wish I'd known about them sooner, because I totally just found my soundtrack for the rest of the day.
Silveira is the first trans man ever to have been signed to a major label, and everyone should go read this interview with him at Curve Magazine. Now. Just do it. It's great.
6. Madhu Kinnar
In January 2015, Madhu Kinnar made history when she became mayor of Raigarh — and India's first transgender mayor ever. Although, as Bustle's Alicia Lu noted at the time, India is still one of the least progressive nations in terms of LGBTQ rights, Kinnar's win is an important step forward; indeed, India gained its first transgender principal, Manabi Bandopadhyay, just a few months after the election.
7. Eden Lane
There are a lot of “firsts” on this list, and Eden Lane is one of them: She's considered the first transgender reporter on mainstream television. Lane's 2008 coverage of Colorado's gubernatorial elections led to a regular hosting position at KBDI/Colorado Public Television, and then even her own show, In Focus With Eden Lane. As Lane notes, however, she “wanted to be a journalist, not the 'first trans journalist.' I didn't have an agenda. I wanted to — and still want to — do good work. ... I am just another journalist who wants to be good at what I do.” As is the case for everyone on this list — and everyone in the world — we are all more than the sum of our parts.