Confirmed: Bruce Jenner Is Transitioning

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

This is shaping up to be an absolute gangbusters year for the trans community in terms of visibility and empowerment. In just the past two weeks alone, we saw “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox pose nude for “Allure,” and transman Aydian Dowling in the lead for the “Men’s Health” title of “Ultimate Guy.” As if that weren’t already an embarrassment of riches, Olympic decathlete/”Keeping Up with the Kardashians” patriarch Bruce Jenner confirmed what everyone had been speculating about in his ABC “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night: He’s transitioning to become a woman (but is totally cool using male pronouns for now).

It’s a fantastic interview; watch it if you haven’t already. Jenner is now the most publicly prominent transperson out there right now. He’s in a great position that has potential to educate millions of people on what being trans means. And he wants to use his newfound identity to help empower others who feel out of place in their own lives.

It’s fantastic that Jenner has finally decided to live his life the way he sees fit, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. Go Bruce!

Laverne Cox Posed Nude for “Allure”

Laverne Cox (Allure)

Laverne Cox (Allure)

Happy Friday! We’re celebrating by looking at this gorgeous photo of a nude Laverne Cox in the May 2015 “Allure” issue.

Cox, a transgender woman, posed along with cisgender (read: female at birth) ladies Jordana Brewster, Nicole Beharie, Katheryn Winnick and Sandrine Holt. Recently named to the “Time” 100 Most Influential People list, Cox wanted to empower the various communities she represents by posing nude, showing a representation that isn’t usually seen.

We think she’s certainly doing that. Keep up the great work, Ms. Cox!


Thursday Trends: Recognizing Actors for Portraying Transpeople

Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in 'Transparent' (Business Insider)

Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in ‘Transparent’ (Business Insider)

Last week at the Golden Globe Awards, actor Jeffrey Tambor received the award for Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy. Tambor plays Maura in Amazon Studios’ “Transparent,” a transgender woman who’s always identified as a woman, and how it affects her three adult children. (The series also won the Golden Globe for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy.)

Tambor, who dedicated his award to the trans community, is the latest actor to be recognized for his work in playing a transperson. Though some actors before him have achieved recognition in portraying trans characters, the awards and nominations have come few and far between. But Tambor’s award comes less than a year since Jared Leto won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing a transwoman in “Dallas Buyers Club.” This suggests that the trans community is rapidly gaining in visibility, and portrayals of the community members’ nuances are beginning to be normalized onscreen.

The first film actor to be nominated for portraying a trans person was Chris Sarandon for “Dog Day Afternoon” back in 1975. Sarandon played Leon Shermer, the pre-operative trans wife of bank robber Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino). The character was based on the real-life Elizabeth Eden, initially born Ernest Aron. Sarandon received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for his work.

The first film actor to win an award for playing a trans person was Hilary Swank, portraying Brandon Teena in 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry.” Swank won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama Golden Globe and the Best Actress Oscar.

Last year, the Emmys made history when it nominated its first transgender acting nominee. Laverne Cox, who plays hairdresser/inmate Sophia Burset in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” was nominated for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series. (Though she didn’t win, Cox later scored another first as the first openly trans person to grace the cover of “Time” in June.)

It’s important to note that previous to Cox, all the actors nominated were cisgender, and this has occasionally become a point of contention. After Leto won the Oscar in 2014, discussions arose around transgender actors portraying trans characters.

With actors receiving recent recognition in portraying trans characters, the trans community’s visibility is rapidly rising. As more audiences watch trans stories, mainstream acceptance should spread.