Laverne Cox, the transgender star of the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, was named on People’s 2015 list of the World’s Most Beautiful People.
People gushed, “The actress has left a big impression on Hollywood (and America) in a very short amount of time. Cox’s skillful performance as Sophia on Orange Is the New Black and her work advocating for transgender women make her one of our boldest beauties yet.” Cox has toured America to stump for transgender rights with a speech titled, “Ain’t I A Woman?”
Interviewed by Time in 2014, Cox, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, said, “I was very feminine and I was really bullied, majorly bullied. There was this side of me that was this over-achiever that loved learning. But then I was also taunted at school. I was called names. I was made fun of.”
Cox added, “Folks want to believe that genitals and biology are like destiny!… When you think about it, it’s kind of ridiculous. People need to be willing to let go of what they think they know about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. Because that doesn’t necessarily mean anything inherently.”
Cox continued, “I think the reality is that most of us are insecure about our gender. They think, ‘Okay, if there’s this trans person over here, then what does that make me?’ We want to just coast along in a belief system that makes us feel secure, because we are a culture, as Brene Brown would say, that is intolerant to vulnerability. And if we are in a position where we have to begin to question this very basic idea of ‘A man has a penis and a woman has a vagina,’ then that’s a lot of vulnerability.”