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By Jazmine Reed

Dear Caitlyn Jenner,

You’ve done it again. You’ve become an American heroine; a warrior who once broke records is now breaking barriers. You are the epitome of strength, beauty and courage.

Among all of the themes you are championing, I believe self-acceptance is the most palpable. The Vanity Fair cover isn’t just a glamour shot or portrait for your frame collection; it is a tangible reminder that with courage and self-acceptance, inner beauty and strength radiate.

Ironically, many of your celebrity counterparts (and family members) teach us to strive for perfection; to resemble something or someone inauthentic to ourselves to garner love and notoriety …from people we barely know. Caitlyn, you are a masterful representation of living within your truth; to have the courage to accept yourself so wholly, so completely that you receive abundant amount of love …from yourself.

It’s cruel that an action as pure and seemingly natural as accepting yourself has become a novel idea. It is almost as cruel as the message boards attempting to berate your spirit with slanderous strikes and burning woes. I am not sure when the world became so callous, so close-minded, so tense. But with your introduction, the world–even if momentarily–has become more progressive, more educated, and a safer place for anyone harboring hardship.

At this time, you may not have everyone’s acceptance, but you have everyone’s attention. Captivated by confusion and curiosity, millions of people who were once ignorant to the transgender community are enlightened. I, myself, did not understand all of the gender binaries. Today, tomorrow, and years to come, people will go to their keyboards and classmates to discuss you and the community in which you live. May every conversation unlock someone out of a closet or a burdening part of their soul, afraid to come out. With your first strut into the spotlight, you have destroyed the heavy shackles caging millions of broken hearts, and inspired them all.

Caitlyn, you are so beautiful. You already have put my beach body to shame, and pose with such sophistication. Your Vanity Fair photos are breathtaking, and you appear as regal and as glamorous as ever. And more than you look beautiful, you look happy.

I, myself, with never know the pain you have endured, but because of you, I have experienced a sense of self-acceptance I didn’t know I could have, that I didn’t know I could honor. You said to Diane Sawyer, that when God makes all of us, He gives us each some sort of adversity to glorify His name. I know mine; and just as you transformed, you’re allowing all of our adversities to transition from shame to pride.

Caitlyn, we thank you.

Image: Vanity Fair

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