By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com May 29 2014 11:32 AM ET
After being unceremoniously left off this year's Time 100 list, Laverne Cox graces the cover of the June 9 issue of Time magazine.
Titled "The Transgender Tipping Point," Time's cover story focuses on the recent rise in transgender awareness, highlighting the work and stories of trans individuals like Orange Is the New Black star Cox, app developer Teagan Widmer, 11-year-old Mac Davis, and 17-year-old Ashton Lee.
"Transgender people — those who identify with a gender other than the sex they were 'assigned at birth,' to use the preferred phrase among trans activists — are emerging from the margins to fight for an equal place in society," Time's Katy Steinmetz said in a press release. "This new transparency is improving the lives of a long misunderstood minority and beginning to yield new policies. ... As the trans movement has gained momentum, opponents have been drawn in to fight, many of them social conservatives who cut their teeth and fattened their mailing lists opposing same-sex marriage. But perhaps the biggest obstacle is that trans people live in a world largely built on a fixed and binary definition of gender. In many places, they are unwelcome in the men’s bathroom and the women’s. The effect is a constant reminder that they don’t belong."
The article touches on recent social and legal gains seen by trans people — such as California's School Success and Opportunity Act and Maryland's recently-pased Fairness for all Marylanders Act — as well as the rough road ahead, citing the stalled Employment Non-Discrimination Act, healthcare struggles, and identification issues.
"We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ‘This is who I am,’" Cox tells Time. "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."
Cox is slated to reprise the role of Sophia Burset in season 2 of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, scheduled for release June 6.
Watch Time's behind-the-scenes video of Cox's cover shoot below.