Laverne Cox Featured on the Cover of TIME
TIME had an unlikely person grace its cover – Laverne Cox (a star of the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black). Many protested when TIME released its annual list of 100 influential people – a list that included celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey, Carrie Underwood, and Benedict Cumberbatch – but no sign of Cox was seen. Many felt her omission from the list was a sign of racism and transphobia, and that without her appearance, being trans* was slowly fading out from being a real issue that needed to be addressed. Cox has been an outspoken advocate for trans* issues, fighting for equal rights, and has toured the country giving public speeches.
Cox described growing up in Alabama (coincidentally the south has recently become the battleground for LGBTQ rights) and how she was treated. Bullied for being feminine and beat up one day by other schoolchildren, Cox’s story is not a pity tale – it is the truth about what horrors a child can face for being different. TIME discussed Janet Mock, a trans woman and author whose recent book, Redefining Realness became a best-seller and how trans people are taking more control of their own story. “There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience,” Cox explained.
Cox also expressed her fear of those who fight against laws that benefit the trans* community and others, like the recent California law where trans* students can participate in school activities that match their identity. TIME also brought up an event where a six-year-old named Soleil gave Cox a note about what to do when being bullied. “I think about when I was that age and my gender was being policed and how deeply painful it was and how it made me feel like I was wrong, at my very core, that every instinct I had, to reach for this and be who I was, was wrong,” Cox said.
Laverne Cox has proven to a leader in this time where the trans* community not only faces discrimination from mainstream society, but the LGBQ society.
You can read the full interview at TIME and see Cox in her starring role as Sophia in Orange is the New Black, which returns with a second season on June 6th.