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Laverne Cox just did a nude shoot for Allure, and I want to shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone I know to go pick up the issue when it comes out.

Let me explain why I love this so much by telling you about my favorite moment in Orange Is the New Black. I really enjoy the show, but I find a lot of the nudity/sex to be gratuitous and over the top, especially in the first season—not because it exists but because of how it is handled and portrayed. However, the show is not always gratuitous and (perhaps ironically) it contains one of the most beautiful and sensitively handled nude scenes in all of television.

The first time we see Sophia (Laverne Cox) nude, she’s alone in the bathroom, and before leaving she gives herself a quick look-over in the mirror. It’s the same thing every woman alive has done a thousand times before, which creates this incredibly moving and humanizing moment. Obviously, a lot of attention in the show is paid to the fact that Sophia is trans*, and it does an excellent job of addressing the struggle and prejudices she has to face, but in this one vulnerable moment when she is alone, we don’t see “Sophia the trans* woman.” We see Sophia the woman. We see that she is just like any other woman—every other woman—regardless of sex assigned at birth. We see that she is “othered” by the people around her, not by anything inherent in herself because, when stripped of politics and prejudices and pretenses, she is nothing other than a normal woman.

The scene itself is probably no more than 10 seconds long, but it’s so powerful that it’s stuck with me more than anything else from the show.

And so I love this. I love seeing Laverne not as a character but as herself, bravely showing the world that she is confident in her womanhood. She has ownership of her body and her identity, and she is unashamed. What a beautiful thing that is.

laverne-cox-nude

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