Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and even your transgendered: Orange is the New Black transgender actor Laverne Cox is appearing as the Statue of Liberty on the latest cover of Entertainment Weekly.
The 31-year-old, who has become a key advocate within the LGBT community, initially had reservations about dressing as the iconic symbol, as it felt “a little cliche,” but now admits to be quite pleased with the outcome.
“That means so much to so many people,” Cox said of EW‘s decision to feature those working in LGBT entertainment. “Part of our job as people in media is to inspire people to get people to think about things in a different way. This cover, I think, is doing that.”
Cox launched the “#TransIsBeautiful” social media campaign recently “as a way to celebrate all those things that make trans folks uniquely trans, those things that don’t necessarily align with cisnormative beauty standards.”
The actor said on EW‘s SiriusXM channel Friday, per the site, that she is proud to share her story because it’s what makes her uniquely American.
As many problems as I think there are in this country, nowhere else in the world – and I’m paraphrasing our president now – is my story possible: a black, transgender woman from Mobile, Alabama, even being on the cover of a magazine, let alone on a hit TV show and nominated for an Emmy and winning an Emmy as a producer.
It’s like, what?
It’s wonderful. It’s a testament to our country. That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of work to do in the country, but … what a country.
Cox also stated that “gender policing” hurts everyone, saying, “Most men who are attracted to and date transgender women are probably stigmatized more than trans women are,” which is why she is now asking those men to come forward to set an example.
“I think a man who is dating trans women, who is a celebrity, or famous or is an athlete or something, needs to come forward–or a musician–and needs to say, ‘I love transgender women and [they] deserve to be loved and I’m going to declare that publicly,” Cox said.
“I think those men need some sort of inspiration and hope, so they can live more authentically,” she added.
Listen to the segment below.