Laverne Cox for Time Magazine

Posted on May 29, 2014

You go and get it, Laverne. This is HUGE.

Laverne-Cox-Time-Magazine-Tom-Lorenzo-Site“Orange Is The New Black” star Laverne Cox covers the latest issue of Time magazine in an Hervé Léger bandage dress.


And you look spectacular, girl. But you sound even better:


The people out there in America who have no idea what being transgender means, what do they need to understand?

“There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience. And I think what they 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.”

Would you say you’re a happy person now?

Absolutely. Happiness is weird though. I’m so busy and I’m living my dream. I feel like myself and I feel pretty integrated, like the person that I am inside is who the world is seeing, which feels calming. But it’s not like ‘Oooooohhh, I a woman now and the world is amazing.’ There’s hardships. There are a lot of struggles still. I’m happy that I am myself and I couldn’t imagine my life if I were still in denial or lying, pretending to be a boy. That seems ridiculous to me. That seems crazy at this point … It’s nice to be done with transitioning.

Where is America when it comes to the acceptance of trans people?

We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ‘This is who I am.’ And more trans people are willing to tell their stories. More of us are living visibly and pursuing our dreams visibly, so people can say, ‘Oh yeah, I know someone who is trans.’ When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference. Social media has been a huge part of it and the Internet has been a huge part of it, where we’re able to have a voice in a way that we haven’t been able to before. We’re being able to write our stories and we’re being able to talk back to the media … We are the reason. And we are setting the agenda in a different way.


Dropping truth and looking fierce. We are genetically obligated to love that.





[Photo Credit: Time Magazine]

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  • Jessi03

    Love her, and so proud of her. She is doing amazing things for the community.

    • Sarah

      Totally agree! This is epic and I never thought this day would come in my lifetime. I have chills right now!

    • Laura Renee

      I know, but I worry too about the pressure she’s under. The country has latched onto her as the most “acceptable” face of the entire transgender community, and she must feel that everything she says and does carries an incredible weight. I hope she has the time and resources now for regular massage breaks, and just time to hang out with girlfriends at home.

      • suzanne77

        I pray for self care and support as well.

      • marlie

        I appreciate that she said that there’s not just one trans story. So, in a way, she’s acknowledging that hers isn’t the only story out there. Presumably, as more and more trans people are comfortable sharing their stories, and more are accepted in the “mainstream” media and entertainment industry, there will be other voices besides hers.

  • Snoskred

    She is outstandingly glorious inside and out. J’adore. And this dress, what a stunning colour on her! :)

    Though it might look better if she were not photographed in the shade, what is up with the lighting on everything just lately? Her skin tone is incredible and I know that for sure, so why would the magazine not show that off properly?

    • poggi

      I wonder if it was intentional so that the cover didn’t look too fashion-y. I had a photograph take my picture at work for a research publication and he experiemented with some shots that were more serious and interesting and the lighting was harsh and the resulting pictures were not kind. We selected the picture with the kinder lighting. If the readers want serious they can read the research; for t picture I want pretty.

      Now of course, Laverne looks beautiful but we know she could even look more glamorous if they had wanted to play hat up more.

      • Kate Andrews

        I agree — it’s more of a “news cover” to be taken seriously.

  • Jessie Melcher Brown

    I have a friend who is trans and I see how she struggles. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in a world where everyone was accepted and no one was treated differently?

    • Kiltdntiltd

      It will come, with continuing work and patience, it will come.

  • MannahattaMamma

    We should ALL be genetically obligated to love that.

    • Skippymom1

      I truly believe we are, but unfortunately hateful phobias transcend genetics and are ingrained by the way some people are raised. I don’t imagine for a minute that a baby is born thinking “I am going to hate everyone that isn’t like me”. It’s the nurture vs. nature game.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” by Rodgers and Hammerstein is very, very true-no one is born hating someone who looks or believes differently than they.

  • RussellH88

    And she received a Television Critics’ Association Award (Or something like that) for Best Supporting Actress. Miss Laverne is having a good week. And that dress is awesome, I love the spacing of the lines on it.

    • kimmeister

      It’s interesting how the spacing is varied.

      • CPT_Doom

        Whatever the spacing, that dress is f to the fierce and she looks amazing.

  • KinoEye

    I grinned like a fool when I saw the cover, and continued to as I read the interview transcript. She’s gorgeous on the cover. Her mind, and what she has to say, is even more gorgeous.

    I’m so grateful to live during a time when a black, transgender woman is on the cover of TIME. Not to mention Queen Lupita’s People’s Most Beautiful cover. The intolerance and bigotry in this world wears me out, but the times, they are a-changin’. I’m elated to be a witness.

    • Lucía Gavello

      I agree wholeheartedly. It may seem like a small thing but a cover like this is a huge leap forward. I also want to vote up every comment on this thread, I love all bitter kittens a bit more today.

      • butterflysunita

        It just moved me so much seeing this cover. Yes, seeing a black transgender woman on the cover of TIME gives me hope.

        • Introspective

          so excited for Laverne, and for what this cover proves about our expanding ideas as a general public about intersectional identities and the fluidity of categories like race and gender. Yes, we have work to do and nobody is as much a cynic about that work than me, but the leaps of the last 5-10 years are indeed staggering. Feeling excited that the moves being made go well beyond a place at the proverbial “table.” Previously marginalized folks are now all over the room, occupying every corner and changing all the conversations. boom bitches.

    • Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

      These are glorious times, and I’m so incredibly happy to be living in them.
      My daughter came out about a year ago. It hit me some time later that how wonderful is it we live in times where I won’t worry about her being hurt, worry about her safety, worry about so many things that parents of LGBT children used to; with good reason. Yes, there are strides still to be made. Seeing Fierce Miss Laverne and listening to her good sense from a forum such as Time magazine is something which was a dream even 10 years ago. I’m so happy for so many.

      • KinoEye

        You have no idea how much this makes me smile. My uncle grew up gay in 1950s Texas… the stories he’s told me are horrific. To this day, he’s reticent to tell people about his sexuality, although he isn’t closeted by any means. But it’s become so ingrained to protect himself under threat of violence or death that he can’t shake it. He and his partner (who I already think of as another uncle) want to get married soon, and I couldn’t be happier about it — though my uncle got upset when my mom told me of their plans, thinking I’d react negatively. An involuntary reaction on his part, even though he knows I’m an ally and supporter, and will be til the day I die.

        At any rate, I’m just thrilled there’s a generation of people who can grow up without that fear and stigma plaguing their lives. My absolute best wishes to you and your daughter!

        • Alicia

          Your poor uncle – how awful that he still anticipates rejection like that! I hope he and his love have the most perfect wedding day!

      • Anna

        That’s wonderful about your daughter. Even I sometimes forget how lucky I am to
        live in a city that is very accepting and so openly celebrates the LGBT
        community, and diversity in general. I’ve noticed young and even teen same-sex
        couples holding hands in public at the mall the same way anybody else in their
        age group is able to do more and more frequently, and without fear. Of course,
        there is still much progress to be made, it is far from perfect and it wasn’t
        always this way, but I am so proud and lucky to live where I live, and during
        these times.

  • Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume

    I teared up a bit. You go and get yourself on the cover of a magazine girl…serving fierce face and body ody ody. Big snaps up.

  • Alicia

    “Dropping truth and looking fierce. We are genetically obligated to love that.” – mic drop

  • Danielle

    I am so proud, oh my God.

  • Jennifer Bober


  • Anna


    What thoughtful, intelligent and insightful responses. That dress is stunning on her.

  • deelup

    She looks fantastic on the cover. Maybe best I’ve ever seen her. And what a great role model.

  • EEKstl

    Fierce AND Smart. You go, girl!

  • HobbitGirl

    She is amazing. As a cis woman myself I really had no idea about a lot of the continuing struggles the trans community faces until I encountered her. Now I BOW THE FUCK DOWN.

  • Tanya Wade

    One word: Inspiration.

  • pamplemousse

    So amazing

  • Laura Renee

    I’m so happy about this.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    “I feel like myself…” That is the essence of the whole struggle, not just for transfolk, but for every human being. The right to personhood is the most very basic root of every other right and freedom. I am not transgendered, but I am not the person I want to be, the person I could be, the person I should be, and Laverne, and every transgendered person, is an inspiration to me and to every human who seeks to walk their own pathway to personhood with dignity, integrity, and courage.


    “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does
    it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just
    to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

    “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

    “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

    “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

    “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who
    break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved
    off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are
    Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

    • KinoEye

      One of my favorites as a kid, and I still think of that passage today. Beautiful and so very true.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        I’m sitting here tearing up over Laverne’s cover, and that beautiful passage from The Velveteen Rabbit. May we all have the chance to be our real selves, and to be loved as our real selves.

    • demidaemon


    • Qitkat

      Sending you (((HUGS)))

      One of the best book passages ever.

    • SportifLateBoomer

      OK now I’m crying. I’m remembering that I won a special copy of the book/toy when I was a little girl, for writing a winning essay about it. One of my first academic recognitions, as I was pretty smart kid, until I began to hide my light later on after being bullied and made fun of for my brains and looks. So now a million years later, after much work and a lot of (self, mostly) love, I am finally becoming Real. Must reread Velveteen Rabbit.

      Also — and I definitely don’t intend this to be patronizing! — I have a MtF trans acquaintance who I secretly admire a lot. She is not high style or beautiful in the conventional sense, and my shallow, vain self thinks sometimes, how can she stand to be not-pretty, big-boned, still somewhat male-looking, doing the hair, makeup, nails, etc. … Yet she’s a woman nonetheless, successful in her public-facing profession, was written up in a local religious paper for creating a new ritual having to do with taking on a female name — I cannot imagine what she went through to get where she is, as she’s in her 50s so not in the relatively recent wave of better acceptance.

    • formerlyAnon

      The older I get the more poignant I find The Velveteen Rabbit. When young, it was inspirational. Now, I think I find it sadder because I am more aware of how many people don’t feel Real, and have never felt that kind of accepting love from another – sometimes even when they have it, because they can’t allow themselves to believe that it is possible.

    • Madam Von Sassypants

      This is one of the best comments I’ve ever read. In all seriousness. Brava. Thank you.

  • eowyn_of_rohan

    Brava, Ms. Cox! And kudos to Time for appearing to approach this in a way that’s not sensationalistic or judgmental. That’s tragically rare for the American media.

  • Kiltdntiltd

    She is awesomeness personified. And both beautiful and talented, on top of being smart, funny and courageous. One of my old high school friends is a post op FTM and I couldn’t be more proud of him for his courage and for the new life he has made.

  • Jessica Freeman

    There’s something about this photo that really conveys her empowerment and confidence. It says “here we are bitches, get used to it” I loves it.

  • lizzybef

    *wild applause*

  • @Biting Panda

    I am standing and giving the slow clap.

  • smayper

    The interview took me back to the novel The World According to Garp, which I think was published in ’79 and had a trans character not played for laughs. My first exposure to the concept of trans, and it was in a good novel through a strong character. I’m amazed now to think that John Irving did that. It’s so wonderful to see trans people like Laverne speaking for themselves…and she is just the definition of grace, outside and in.

  • Alfred Cox

    U GO GIRL!

  • Alfred Cox

    Not too crazy about the Beyonce styling though. Don’t crush me!

  • Le_Sigh

    Loving every bit of this

  • KateShouldBeWorking

    Brava, Ms Cox!

  • Sobaika


    Hats off, snaps, and attagirl.

    • Anna

      Would upvote infinity times, if I could, my favourite Maya Angelou quote and applies perfectly to Ms. Cox.

  • Julie Chase

    She’s as intelligent as she is gorgeous. Keep on being amazing, Miss Laverne

  • queeniethebold

    i have loved her — both the person and the character she plays on OITNB — since the first second i saw her. She is living all the things that we should all be striving for, and trying to live (not just blab about it, but live it) always, every single day. Strength, grace, humor, self-confidence, kindness. And beauty, in whatever form it takes. i just adore her! So proud of this coverage of her and this accomplishment!

  • suzanne77

    You know, I think about all of those trans women (and trans men) of color in Paris is Burning and I think, would that they’d have lived to see this, would that they’d lived to BE THIS.

    • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

      Very true.

    • Alfred Cox

      Amen sista

  • Skippymom1

    ::happy sigh::

  • marlie

    I think she looks nice, but for some reason the angle of the photo bugs me a little; it’s a little bit unflattering.

    My favorite line: “When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.”

    • CPT_Doom

      I think the angle is meant to emphasize her height and therefore the powerful argument she makes for trans empowerment.

      • jay

        Agreed, I love that she doesn’t apologize for her height, ever, and that this photo just makes you go DAMN THAT GIRL IS TALL. (But I’m 4’11” so I love it)

  • ktr33

    She is so delightful!

  • Coleen

    She is LUMINOUS.

  • mmebam

    “Still I Rise” realness!

  • tired_mommy

    Heard a great quote today I feel compelled to share:

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”–Oscar Wilde

  • In_Stitches

    She looks fabulous and she gives good quote. She’s a great spokesmodel for the cause.

    I’m shocked by the estimated number in the bottom right of the cover. An estimated 1.5 MILLION people who identify as transgendered? That’s a much larger figure than I would have imagined.

    • Bexxx

      It may refer to people who identify anywhere out of the gender binary rather than specifically trans but I am not sure.

    • fursa_saida

      Well, you’re talking about a country of over 300 million. 1.5 million is what, .5%? (Less if you don’t round down the total population.) So it’s a large number of people, objectively, but it’s a tiny slice of the population. It’s not surprising to me at all when you consider the zoom out.

      • In_Stitches

        .5% means that 1 out of every 200 people is transgendered. That seems really high.

        • fursa_saida

          It’s very possible my perspective (since this is anecdotal for most of us, no?) is skewed because I’ve been around a fair number of trans/genderqueer people and I spend a lot of time on tumblr.

        • CPT_Doom

          Well an estimated 1/2000 humans are intersex, meaning they cannot be classified as male or female, so 10x as many trans folks makes sense to me.

          • In_Stitches

            Interesting. It speaks to the fact that what we see and perceive on the street every day doesn’t accurately represent reality. Were I to pass Laverne on the street, I would assume she had been born anatomically female. I suppose the numbers could be that high and I’m just not clued into that element of the world.

          • Alicia

            I think so. There are a lot of trans* people who aren’t out as trans, or who haven’t been able to start transitioning yet, as well as those who “pass”, so you just don’t notice.

  • MilaXX

    I was wondering if this would make the blog. I’m so happy for her. She looks great!

  • Bexxx

    If y’all google Hampshire College commencement Laverne Cox speech or somesuch you can find the speech I mentioned in the TLounge. It was a little anecdotal but funny, charming, truthful, and insightful and spoke directly to the Hampshire College community. She is larger than life in person and ten times more beautiful and poised than I could have ever imagined. She will go down in history not only as a talented actress but as an important social justice activist. She looks amazing here and the quotes are excellent as usual. Love. Huh.

  • Shelby

    Adore her. And she looks fabulous and confident on the cover, which profoundly moved me when I first saw it. I’m a teacher and this semester I taught a Caribbean novel, “No Telephone to Heaven,” which has a trans character of color. It was our best discussion day because we were able to talk about Harriet with Laverne Cox in mind. She’s completely correct, “When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.”

  • Bad Idea Jeans

    Bowing down.

  • PastryGoddess

    This. is. FABULOUS

  • myra

    I want to buy this just to frame it. I have a feeling this will become one of Time’s most iconic covers.

  • Chaiaiai

    Miss Lady has presence and intelligence. A dangerous combination and I LOVE IT.

  • Alloy Jane

    My first thought was “god I hate that hair color, with the roots and the dark ends…” and it makes me laugh because her transgendered status and what her presence on the cover of Time means didn’t even dawn on me before I hit “A celebrity on a cover! It’s JUDGING TIME” bitchy mode.

    But damn, this gives me hope on a day that started off upsetting and a little hopeless in a week filled with illness, fear, uncertainly, and a growing sense of despair. Because a woman of color on Time magazine, who probably has to suffer twice as much violence as biological women–which is saying something–can stand proud as her whole self in the world public and say “We are here and we matter.”

    • formerlyAnon

      I had a not-exactly-up-on-current-events friend who likes OITNB but never realized Ms. Cox was transgender basically ask me (paraphrased): Really? She’s on the cover for that? Is that a big deal? I can only hope some day those who are in Ms. Cox’s position can see it as no-big-deal.

      (I hope the week improves for you – or a lot more happens to lighten the burden.)

      • Alloy Jane

        Thank you. I am so very grateful for this community of wonderful, open-hearted humans and our kind uncles TLo for cultivating a sense of safety within the commentariat. The presence of so many sane people helps to mitigate some of the angst that comes from experiencing frequent and persistent violence out in the world.

    • CPT_Doom

      I think the greatest testament to equality is to go right to bitchy judgemental mode, although I think she looks faboo.

  • SugarSnap108

    Love that dress. Love her. Loving TIME right now.

  • verucaamish

    It’s amazing that both Laverne Cox and Janet Mock are these amazing pop culture icons who also have it so together on speaking about social justice. They need to give a learning annex class on how to use your fame for good. One minor criticism, would love to see Laverne’s hair away from her face. The woman has the cheekbones of a 90’s supermodel.

  • Gatto Nero

    This makes me proud, and hopeful for the human race.
    She is amazing, inside and out.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Dropping truth and looking fierce-you just have to love that. Laverne looks absolutely fab!

  • decormaven

    Amazing- and on the cover of Time, no less. The times, they are indeed a’changing.

  • dschubba

    Damn. Get it, girl.

  • Zaftiguana

    “We are the reason.”

    Yes, ma’am.

  • International Model


  • StellaZafella

    Wow, Laverne……just…fuckin’…WOW!

  • ashtangajunkie

    It’s weird to feel proud of someone I’ll never meet, but I always feel so proud of her.

  • frannyprof

    I am trilled beyond belief about this.

  • formerlyAnon

    I have a friend who likes OITNB, but doesn’t watch “entertainment” media (including awards shows) or spend much time on line. He didn’t know Ms. Cox was transgender till this cover. His comment “Huh, now, what did she do to be on the magazine cover? Is it really just because she’s that trans-whatisit thing?” I have to say, I hope there are a lot of similarly unphased folks out there.

    • marlie

      I hope there are people who are unfazed by seeing a transgender person on the cover of Time, but at the same time, I hope that they – and everyone else – become aware of the challenges that trans people face every day. There are still a lot of people out there who are not nearly as accepting and open-minded about people who are different from themselves, or who stray from their perceived “norm.”

      • formerlyAnon

        Yeah, it’s not like navigating non-cis-mainstream gender identity is ever going to be a non-event for anyone, though having it feel safe would be a good place to get to asap. I was just kind of amazed that this truly not-exactly-well-informed friend – and a guy at that – didn’t express any negative reaction, or much interest.

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    Gotta give it up for Laverne, she looks great and sounds good too. And also hats off to Time Magazine.

  • suzq

    Hooray for Laverne and hooray for all of us! I have a friend who is transgendered and does not identify clearly one way or the other because xe is intersex. We are on the cusp of opening up society to the full spectrum of gender identity. Prepare to have your minds blown, America! Once your mind is blown, it’s wide open for new ideas. Here’s where I must tip my hat to Project Runway, which has been very supportive of gender bending/androgynous designers over the years. That show has provided an interesting forum for neutral design. Trans doesn’t equal drag. It’s more complicated than that. If you think about it, the trend is becoming more androgynous over time. We all wear jeans and tee-shirts, for example. Maybe someday an array of skirts will become ubiquitous as well. We’ll see.

    • CPT_Doom

      When I was struggling with coming out, learning about the existence of intersex people helped convince me of the biological foundation of gender identity & sexual orientation. Go Laverne!

    • gabbilevy

      I would most definitely not be sad if kilts were a thing.

    • jay

      What I have learned over the last few years from having a bunch of cis-men who love drag as friends is that EVERYONE looks good in a pencil skirt

  • Man Dala

    Go girl, you got this.

  • snarkykitten

    Remind me to pick up a copy next time I’m out! I’m so thankful for people like Laverne Cox.

  • nancymae

    This is so powerful and amazing and beautiful.

    And to think I wasso livid over Time’s decision not to inclde her in its Time 100. This is soooo much better than sharing a cover with Yonće in her bloomers.

  • W A

    Is this the first time a non-fashion/celebrity/art magazine cover has been featured on TLo?

  • conniemd

    “When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.” Such an intelligent statement and so different from some of the vapid comments made in celebrity interviews.

  • MaggieMae

    Whew. Classy cover. Go Laverne!

  • Serena

    I am bowing so fucking low right now.

  • mickiemonkey

    SO PROUD OF HER. She makes the world a better place. An embodiment of freedom: she makes us all more free.

  • Ass Kicking Adviser

    Just catching up today but loving this so that I couldn’t not comment. Fantastic. And about time. But I won’t be cynical about it that way – just glad this day is here. What a smart, beautiful woman.

  • MightyMarshal

    I’m asking this from a completely curious and not nasty standpoint (I know intention can be lost online) but how does she get her feminine figure? Is there padding or a cincher or is there cosmetic surgery to enhance feminine silhouette (other than breast augmentations)? Does the hormone therapy affect silhouette at all?

    • cocohall

      I read “She’s Not There” about a MTF transsexual and she reported that after taking hormones, her weight stayed the same but it shifted on her body. Her hips widen, she developed breasts. So yes, the hormones have some impact, although they cannot reverse some changes that happen during puberty. Which is why some parents of young kids who they believe might be trans use drugs to delay puberty until the child/teen can be mature enough to be part of the decision. It makes transitioning later a little less difficult both physically and emotionally. Imagine how disturbing it would be to get a period or develop breasts if you feel like a boy, regardless of your genitalia? Or the reverse – to develop a beard, adam’s apple, heavy brow, etc if you identify as a woman.

  • Amel

    That is 100% her dress

  • Jacquelyn

    Damn. Fierce. In more ways than one.

  • Toongrrl

    I wanna make her Empress : )