Vanity Fair on Monday released the cover of its July issue in which Caitlyn Jenner publicly presents herself as a woman for the first time.
The cover features a picture of Jenner shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz.
A 22-page story written by Buzz Bissinger that accompanies the cover details the struggles the former Olympian experienced during her transition from a man into a woman that include a panic attack the day after undergoing facial surgery. The article — titled “Call Me Caitlyn” — also contains additional photos of Jenner that Leibovitz took.
LGBT rights advocates were quick to applaud Jenner.
“For a transgender person to step into the world as his or her authentic self is a moment of tremendous freedom,” said GLAAD Director of Programs for Transgender Media Nick Adams. “The world can now see what Caitlyn Jenner has always known, that she is — and always has been — a woman.”
Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, a trans advocacy group, also praised Jenner for her decision to appear in Vanity Fair as a woman.
“Caitlyn Jenner is a beautiful woman, and I wish her well,” said Beyer. “Being photographed by Annie Leibovitz is a great honor, and I can imagine Caitlyn’s delight in seeing herself, as she’s always seen herself in her mind’s eye, through Leibovitz’s lens.”
Despite the praise, Beyer questioned the way that Jenner chose to present herself in Vanity Fair.
“I only wish she had chosen a different presentation for her coming-out as Caitlyn,” said Beyer. “We live in a society which continues to objectify women as sex objects, and while there is some comfort in seeing this most famous of trans women being objectified like any other woman, I’m concerned that this form of ‘equality’ sends the wrong message to America.”
Kim Kardashian West, the former Olympian’s stepdaughter who stars in the series of E! reality shows that bare her family’s name, described Jenner as “beautiful” on her Twitter page.
“Be happy, be proud, live life YOUR way!” she tweeted.
President Obama tweeted that it “takes courage to share your story.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday told reporters that Jenner is “worthy of our respect.”
“Nice to meet you,” tweeted Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett in a separate tweet in which she tagged Jenner. “The brave choice to live as your authentic self is a powerful example to so many.”
Not everyone reacted positively to Jenner’s transition.
Drake Bell, a former Nickelodeon star, tweeted that he would still refer to Jenner by her birth name. Zoey Tur, a transgender woman who appeared on “Inside Edition” earlier this year as a correspondent, described the Vanity Fair article and spread as a “highly professional roll out of a product” during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The front page of Tuesday’s New York Post contained a picture of the Vanity Fair cover next to the headline “Here ‘she’ is!!!” The Associated Press also misgendered Jenner in its initial reporting on the issue.
Jenner’s appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair comes less than two months after ABC broadcast Diane Sawyer’s long-anticipated interview with her in which the former Olympian and reality star came out as trans.
“For all intents and purposes I am a woman,” Jenner told Sawyer. “People look at me differently. They see you as this ‘macho male,’ but my heart and my soul and everything I do in my life it is part of me. That female side of me is part of me. That’s who I am.”
Jenner at the time of the interview continued to use male pronouns.
Trans advocates with whom the Blade spoke earlier this year about Jenner’s transition before she confirmed it for the first time noted the former Olympian and reality show star benefits from her financial status.
Trudylynne O’Brien, a trans advocate in Norfolk, Va., in February described Jenner as a “very fortunate person” who “has the finances to be able to afford to do anything that she wants.” Kylar Broadus, director of the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, on Monday noted in response to the Vanity Fair cover that trans people — and particularly those of color — are more likely to be unemployed or live in poverty than the general population.
“When any high-profiled figure comes out as transgender, it can help highlight the challenges transgender people face every day all across the nation,” said Broadus. “The realities that transgender people experience in America is truly alarming.”