American celebrity Laverne Cox has become the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
The trans actress, reality television star, television producer, and LGBT activist’s historic cover features the headline “The Transgender Tipping Point – America’s next civil rights frontier.”
In an interview with the magazine, Cox said that she first became aware that she might be transgender when she was in school.
“My third grade teacher called my mom and said ‘Your son is going to end up in New Orleans wearing a dress.’ Up until that point I just thought that I was a girl and that there was no difference between girls and boys. I think in my imagination I thought that I would hit puberty and I would start turning into a girl,” she explained.
Cox revealed that when she was just 11-years-old she tried to take her own life.
“During puberty, the attraction for other boys got really strong. And I learned in church that was a sin. I imagined that my grandmother was looking down on me and that she knew what I was thinking, because she’s in heaven. I just imagined that I was disappointing her and it just was devastating for me.
“So I went to the medicine cabinet and got a bottle of pills. And took them. And swallowed them. And went to sleep, hoping not to wake up. And I did wake up, with a really bad stomach-ache. I don’t remember what the pills were. Whatever it was, I thought that they would kill me but they didn’t,” she said.
Cox went on to tell Time: “…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 OK, 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.”
Cox is best known for portraying Sophia Burset in the series Orange Is the New Black. In April, Cox was honoured by GLAAD for her work as an advocate for the transgender community.