Happy Birthday, Laverne Cox!

Laverne CoxHappy birthday to the incredible Laverne Cox!

For her birthday, TIME decided to give Cox a cover profile. Check out excerpts from the interview here. I particularly love Cox’s response to a question about what people who don’t know anything about what being trans means should understand. She emphasizes that “there’s not just one trans experience” and that “people need to be willing to let go of what they think they know about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.” Ultimately, she says, we need to embrace the vulnerability that comes with questioning our rigid ideas about gender.

On Facebook, Cox offered some reflections about celebrating her birthday, after many years of not.

It feels truly revolutionary for a black trans woman from a working class background raised by a single mother to publicly declare that her life should be celebrated. Far too often our lives are treated as jokes, spectacles. Our bodies far too often objectified, sensationalized, sexualized, our identities stigmatized. For too many years I internalized this cultural stigma. Today on my birthday I declare that my life and the lives of my trans siblings should be celebrated, our stories and voices valorized while we are here on this planet and not just when we ate gone.

After the jump, check out a powerful video of Cox’s response to a six-year-old named Soleil who asked her how to deal with being bullied. 

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation