When Caitlyn Jenner announced to Diane Sawyer on 20/20 that she was transitioning into a woman, Laverne Cox, the most famous transgender actress in America, knew she’d be asked about it.
“I had a lot of thoughts about the response,” Cox tells EW. “I felt a conversation that needed to be had wasn’t being had.” So Cox wrote an thoughtful article on Tumblr, praising Jenner for being so open, but pleading with the media to stop focusing on Jenner’s good looks—and especially to stop focusing on whether or not she was going to have gender-reassignement surgery.
“Can we get past the surgery questions now?” Cox wonders. “I chose not to write about that because it’s really complicated. But what I do know is that, at this moment, Caitlyn’s narrative is about transitioning. And obviously she’s just at the beginning stages of her womanhood…the pickup it’s gotten and her visibility has been unprecedented.”
Cox praises Jenner for handling the constant scrutiny with such grace—and also admires how forthcoming Jenner is being. “Her authenticity, her vulnerability is beautiful. Her love of her family is so beautiful,” Cox says. “Caitlyn is dynamic, and has a sense of purpose and vision.” But she also adds she’s happy she didn’t have the same attention heaped on her during her own transition.
“This is why I’m so grateful that I had the luxury of transitioning in private,” Cox says. “Because when you transition in the public eye, the transition becomes the story. I’m always disturbed when I see conversations about trans people that focus on surgery. But I believe Caitlyn will transcend this moment.”
To continue reading the cover story on Laverne Cox, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.