Laverne Cox Becomes First Transgender Person On The Cover Of Time, Discusses Childhood Suicide Attempt

Laverne Cox Transgender Time Magazine CoverLaverne Cox looks smashing on the new cover of Time. And her interview is an illuminating must-read.

One of the most touching memories: when she was a boy, she remembers going to dance class but being barred from ballet because “ballet was too gay.” It was just one instance of gender stopping her from what she wanted, and suffering because of the attitudes of those around her.

It didn’t end there, of course. In third grade, she had an epiphany when she realized she might have to be male her whole life. Prior to that, she thought she might just develop into a girl all by herself. And in sixth grade, when she started to really be attracted to boys, she tried to kill herself.

Fortunately — for all of us — she lived. And she began leaning on her creative talents to pull her through the rough times, and started exploring androgyny in her teens.

These days, she notes, trans people are increasingly seizing control of their own stories. Previously, a lot of trans conversation was filtered through cis media, but now folks like Cox and Janet Mock are speaking out and being listened to. This fall, Cox will appear in a documentary on Logo and MTV called Trans Teen, which follows the gender-journeys of young folks between the ages of 14 and 24.

But there’s a long way to go, of course, before people really understand what trans people want to talk about. Just this year, Katie Couric probed Cox about her genitals, which is like starting an interview with Barney Frank, “so, I know we’re here to talk about your work around employment nondiscrimination, but are you into oral or anal?”

(FWIW, the Time interview does not delve into surgery or genitals or hormones, which shows remarkable restraint for a mainstream publication. Particularly one that’s read pretty much exclusively in medical waiting rooms.)

Cox ends the interview with a memory of a child she met named Soleil. Just six years old, Soleil was bullied at school in a way that reminded Cox of her own childhood. “I just thought about how young six years old really is and how innocent six years old really is,” she said. “And we need to protect our children from that and allow them to be themselves.”

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  • gskorich

    you know whats so nice about this story, she admits to being a different gender unlike janet Mock who refuses to admit or talk about her previous gender but reap money off her transition. makes no sense to me.

  • NG22

    I’m a gay guy, and a proud supporter of Laverne Cox (and transgender rights). Laverne is just as fabulous as she looks on that cover. She is a formidable advocate of her community. I truly wish her the best on her journey.

  • ingyaom

    I don’t think asking Cox about her genitals is the same as asking Barnie Frank if he’s a top or bottom (or whatever). Frank was a public figure as a U.S. Representative, so asking him about public policy is appropriate. Cox, however, is famous for being a transgendered person. (What other actor playing walk-on parts has gotten a TIME cover?) So, I would say, questions about the mechanics of being transgendered are not off-limits.

  • Cam

    Love her on the show, fantastic that she is getting the attention she deserves.

  • michael mellor

    Laverne Cox is still a man. His chromosomes are male. They direct his body to produce sperm. He does not have a uterus and never will.

  • Thedrdonna

    Huh, I was wondering if the Queerty staff were going to be able to take some time away from their Carmen Carrera piñata to cover this.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    @michael mellow: You known you’re really should shut up that way no one will known that you’re a special kind of stupid. First Chromosomes DO NOT produce sperm. Testosterone is part of what sperm is made up of. also you should known that Chromosomes aren’t what people see when she or another post-op transsexual walks don’t the street they see a women a female. Lastly while you’re right she does not have a uterus but from what I’ve been told by other women thats a good thing. Michael I can only assume that you’re a hating little gay man who’s so Fu**ed in the head that you just gotta have someone to hate on.

  • money718

    America’s next civil rights frontier? Time is really trying to stay relevant.

  • DerekR

    @money718: Brandi Michael Mellor is the troll formerly known as Jim Bryant who has been banned here more than once. Somehow he is back. You’ve summed him up pretty aptly, he is a horrible person with serious, serious issues.

  • hotboyvb81

    Renee Richards never made the cover????

  • hotboyvb81

    oh- sorry, transexual/gender different, hit me as I hit submit

  • inbama

    “Just this year, Katie Couric probed Cox about her genitals, which is like starting an interview with Barney Frank…”

    Must there be insults to gay people in every trans puff piece?

    The offender, in this case Katie Couric, isn’t male or gay, so why are WE dragged into the story?

  • Oracle

    @sweetbrandigirl2004: “Lastly while you’re right she does not have a uterus but from what I’ve been told by other women thats a good thing.”

    I’m not sure you’ve been speaking to many women…

  • DarkZephyr

    @michael mellor: Laverne Cox is a beautiful and classy woman. There is no need to be disrespectful and to misgender people. Laverne Cox is a true icon.

    @inbama: I don’t know, but it’s wearing thin.

  • Mezaien

    Laverne Cox, tell all the ass holes to suck eggs. Good for you girl you just let them have it.

  • tdx3fan

    My only issue, ever, with transgendered people is that a great deal of them are not exactly honest with the straight guys they hook up from the moment they meet them. That is a serious issue. If you overlook that, the only other thing I have is that they constantly want to declare war on the gay community, which I can also overlook because I do not for a moment believe that all trans people desire to do that.

  • Cam

    @michael mellor: said…

    “Laverne Cox is still a man. His chromosomes are male. They direct his body to produce sperm. He does not have a uterus and never will.”

    What is the point of your post? Women who have had a hysterectomy don’t have a uterus anymore.

    Your argument is similar to people that say gays shouldn’t marry because they can’t have kids together. And lastly, why does it bother you so much? I’m not trans but if this person has found a happy life then I am happy for her. How does it effect you?

  • moxnat

    @michael mellor:

    He born as a man, and he will never be a 100% woman, but look at his shapes, at his body, he should be a role-model for millions of women around the world.

  • Mezaien

    @moxnat: I hope she is not a Christian! AND why I got the feeling you make it your problem?.

  • Teeth

    I think that respectfully thought out questions about HRT or surgery are appropriate, though it’s probably not something Katie cold have done well. Chaz Bono has handled this fairly well, imo.

  • ingyaom

    If she had had cancer, then her treatment would have been fair game. Since she claims to have had body dysmorphia, which was medically treated with drugs, surgery, etc., the same thing goes.

  • Black Pegasus

    @gskorich: Agreed! After seeing Janet Mock make a fool of herself on CNN I had little respect for her. L. Cox however has a story most in the LGBT community can relate to.

    I must admit that I was once a very “transphobic and femphobic” man, but maturity coupled with meeting a wide variety of truly wonderful people has changed my outlook. Laverne Cox is an inspiration to ALL of us. Depression and suicide is a human condition, not just a gay one.

  • Jame

    Good for her, but damn if they’re aren’t other transgender activists that have been fighting way before she got the spot light, that aren’t being recognized. I guess a celebrity is a better cover for them.

  • jayj150

    Queerty, wasn’t Bradley Manning the first transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine?. Or that didn’t count because he didn’t still look as a woman at the time?. Interesting you guys are denying Manning the honor simply because he wasn’t ‘woman enough’ at the time.

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