Now that gay marriage seems to be a foregone conclusion in the United States, Time magazine is predicting the next “social movement” to overtake America. The magazine is promoting “The Transgender Tipping Point” on its June 9th cover.
As part of its cover story, the June issue features a full-standing cover shot of Laverne Cox, the star of the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black. Cox is a transgendered male who identifies as a female.
Cox celebrated the cover with a May 29th tweet, which said, “Thanks @TIME for this lovely bday present, a cover story 2 highlight the profound issues trans people face everyday.”
In an extensive interview with Time, Cox is said to be the newest spokesperson for the transgender community. Her chief refrain is “genitalia isn’t destiny.”
“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,” Cox said.
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.
In the interview, Cox also seems to think that everyone is “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.
Even as print media, and magazines in particular, continue a slow decline in sales, Time still has a circulation of over 3.3 million.
But many feel Time’s feature of Cox as its June cover girl is the magazine’s attempt to make good with transgender fans because Cox was left off its recent 100 Most Influential People reader’s poll, which spawned a Twitter campaign replete with the hashtag #WhereIsLaverneCox.
Time may very well be trying to prevent a backlash over leaving Cox off the list after it was reported that she received the fifth highest number of votes, despite not being officially in the running.
But at least one gay advocate website was pleased with the new June issue, stating that after the slight over the 100 list, Time was offering a great apology. “It’s an entire issue dedicated to a movement she’s come to be the face of. If that’s not a proverbial olive branch, than [sic] show us what is,” wrote Hayden Manders.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.