Laverne Cox on ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ Cover

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When TIME asked Laverne Cox to be the magazine’s first out transgender cover subject, for a story about the fight for trans civil rights, she didn’t hesitate. After rising to fame in 2013 for her role on Net­flix’s Orange Is the New Black—for which she would become the first out trans person nominated for a Prime­time Emmy in an acting category—she knew she had to seize her time in the spotlight. “When the TIME cover came along, it was in the context of me trying to use this moment to mean something. It wasn’t about me—it was about my community.”

Read the original story: The Transgender Tipping Point

Looking back on that story nearly a decade later, it’s clear we’re in a different era—one in which news stories about trans issues don’t spend as much real estate on definitions and history, but readers’ increased literacy has paralleled more troubling developments. “In 2023, we are at the height of the backlash against trans visibility. We have way more people who are educated about trans folks, but there’s also been a rigorous misinformation media machine,” says Cox. “The backlash is ferocious. It’s genocidal.”

Since that cover, Cox has furthered her acting career with roles in Promising Young Woman and Inventing Anna. She executive-­produced a 2020 Net­flix documentary, Disclosure, about trans representation in Hollywood. And her role as an activist remains at the forefront. “Trans­gender people just want to exist,” she says. “Even in the face of the propaganda and the bills trying to banish our existence, we’ve managed to find each other.”

Laverne Cox on 'Transgender Tipping Point' Cover

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