Activists worry Caitlyn Jenner cover sends wrong message

Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of "Vanity Fair"

CHEVY CHASE, Md. (MEDIA GENERAL) – It’s not a stretch to say Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover photo was widely circulated once it was released. Within hours, Jenner’s new Twitter account had reached one million followers. Her famous family had also reposted the image with supportive messages.

Sending the wrong message

But, not everyone is supportive of the cover making Caitlyn Jenner a household name. Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, quickly issued a statement expressing concern that the photo of Jenner objectifies trans women.CaitlynJenner

“To have one’s first public photo be a cover girl bustier shot, rather than a portrait of a professional and accomplished woman, may distort the reality of trans lives and push us back into being perceived as being driven by sexuality. Trans women, like all women, are much more than sex objects,” wrote Beyer.

Decision to be “sexy”

The cover photo, shot by famous celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, was described by many media outlets as “sexy.”

TMZ reported the decision was a very purposeful one.

“We’re told Caitlyn chose an extremely sexy, revealing outfit because now that the public’s curiosity is satisfied, it will not be a shock when she goes out in normal streetwear,” TMZ wrote.

Caitlyn is not common

JJ Marie Gufreda, President of the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, had similar concerns to Beyer’s.

“When you’re showing a lot of cleavage, it does kind of imply that it objectifies the person a little bit,” said Gufreda.

Most importantly, Gufreda was happy to see such a positive reaction to Jenner’s reveal. However, she wants people to know Jenner’s experience is not a common one.

Jenner received one million followers on Twitter in four hours. Gufreda has 158 likes on her Facebook page “Left Hander in London” about her transgender story. Jenner is receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s and is launching a reality show about her experience. Gufreda lost friends, jobs and worried how she was going to pay the rent when she revealed her new identity. Gufreda didn’t have the money for designer gowns and endless plastic surgery like Jenner.

“I hope people recognize that it’s different for her than other transgender people,” Gufreda said.

Gufreda is also hopeful that the difference is not about money and fame, but instead because attitudes are really changing throughout the country.

“I hope people are considering how to relate to transgender people in a better way,” said Gufreda.

Beyer appears to agree. “I know the rest of the LGBT community will continue to tell our stories, and will use the increased attention to the trans community now being paid thanks to the Jenner interview to benefit the entire community.”

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