"It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist."
- Laverne Cox
In the third grade, Laverne Cox's teacher called her mother and said, "Ms. Cox, your son is going to end up in New Orleans in a dress if we don't get him into therapy." Years later, Cox would appear at Tulane University in New Orleans to present a lecture- in a lovely green and black dress.
Laverne Cox and her twin brother were born in the city of Mobile, Alabama in 1984. Along with her twin brother, she was raised by a single mother who worked as a teacher. Laverne knew from a young age that although she was born biologically male, she is female. Because of this, she grew up being harassed, taunted, and bullied for being feminine.
Through it all, Laverne Cox retained her passion for the arts. After graduating from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, she studied at Indiana University in Bloomington and Marymount Manhattan College, where she received a BFA in dance.
Cox would have minor roles on shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit before being cast as Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black. Laverne Cox would later become a trailblazer, becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy and appear on the cover of Time magazine.
Laverne Cox uses her influence as a trans-rights advocate and icon. She hosts her own column on the Huffington Post where she has written about gender expression and oppression. In 2014, Cox produced The T Word, a documentary that follows the lives of several trans youth. The same year, she was honored by GLAAD and Stephen F. Kolzak for her influence and advocacy for the transgender community. For her progressive work in the fight for gender equality, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York City in 2016.
Laverne Cox continues to be a trailblazer, inspiration, and icon for the transgender community. This month, we celebrated the life, influence, impact, activism, and achievement of gay icons. As the month of June comes to a close, remember that equality, regardless of one's sex, ethnicity, background, or gender expression, is a universal right. To culminate #LGBTPrideMonth, we honor Laverne Cox for her work and influence for the LGBT community.
"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."
Joseph Fortuno, LGBT Pride Month Content Curator