OITNB's Laverne Cox Becomes First Transgender Person to Cover Time, Ellen DeGeneres Tweets Congrats!

Trans advocate shares her brave story in the fight for trans rights

By Brett Malec May 29, 2014 8:02 PMTags
Laverne Cox, Time MagazineTIME

After becoming one of the breakout stars from Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox has made history.

Cox has become the first transgender person to land the cover of Time magazine. In the groundbreaking new issue, the actress and trans advocate candidly opens up about her brave journey and her fight for transgender rights.

"There's not just one trans story," Cox, who was born physically male, tells the mag. "There's not just one trans experience. And I think what [people] need to understand is that not everybody who is born feels that their gender identity is in alignment with what they're assigned at birth, based on their genitalia. If someone needs to express their gender in a way that is different, that is okay, and they should not be denied healthcare. They should not be bullied. They don't deserve to be victims of violence...That's what people need to understand, that it's okay and that if you are uncomfortable with it, then you need to look at yourself."

Netflix; Marion Curtis/StarPix

Cox says her trans story began at a very young age and she even had a revelation when she was just in the third grade. "Up until that point I just thought that I was a girl and that there was no difference between girls and boys," she admits. "I think in my imagination I thought that I would hit puberty and I would start turning into a girl."

Sadly, Cox suffered lots of abuse, physical and verbal, growing up. She even tried committing suicide at one point. Cox says she definitely believes trans kids growing up today are lucky to have trans role models for support and reassurance.

"I think there are more media representations that young trans people can look to and say, that's me, in an affirming way," she says. "There's just so many resources out there now that it makes you feel like you're less alone and gives some sort of sense of, ‘Okay, this is who I am and this is what I'm going through,' as opposed to being, ‘What the f--k is wrong with me?' That was what I grew up with."

Cox's advocacy—and history-making Time cover—hasn't gone unnoticed. Ellen DeGeneres, a pioneer in her own right, tweeted a congratulatory message today, writing, "@LaverneCox is the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. It's about Time."