You know, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the annual Allure Naked Truth issue. Nothing against naked ladies, obviously. But the images tend to be too Photoshopped and artificial for my taste. If you really want to celebrate truthful female beauty, let some of our so-called flaws show. Otherise it’s just a cheesecake naked photo, you know. As such I tend to prefer the ESPN Body Issue, especially when it showcases the athletes actually doing the athletic feats they’re famous for. But this year’s nude feature is pretty exceptional. It’s not necessarily because actresses I like including “Sleepy Hollow” star Nicole Beharie, “The L Word” alum Sandrine Holt and continual “D.E.B.S.” crush Jordana Brewster are featured. It’s that Laverne Cox is featured. And that, friends, is a big fucking deal. Celebration of beauty in the transgender community is far too often something that has to be taken, instead of given freely. Our rigid, all-too-narrow standards leave out anyone who (as the New York Times would put it) is “less classically beautiful” than the ideal norm. That norm, of course, leaves out most of us. So then to have a black transgender woman be selected to appear in the Allure Naked issue matters. And that’s exactly why Laverne did it:
“I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again. But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent. Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards. Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about herself might be inspiring to some other folks. There’s beauty in the things we think are imperfect. That sounds very cliché, but it’s true.”Now that, that’s beautiful.