Laverne Cox graces the cover of TIME magazine’s newest issue, making her the first transgender woman to ever do so.
In the cover story about “The Transgender Tipping Point,” the Orange is the New Black star talks equal rights for the trans community, her childhood and achieving happiness but revealed that her journey wasn’t always a smooth ride.
“I was very feminine and I was really bullied, majorly bullied,” she said. “There was this side of me that was this over-achiever that loved learning. But then I was also taunted at school. I was called names. I was made fun of.”
Cox also made sure to clear up some misconceptions about what it means to be a transgender person.
“There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience. And I think what [people] need to understand is that not everybody who is born feels that their gender identity is in alignment with what they’re assigned at birth, based on their genitalia.
“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.”
The star has a leading voice in the transgender community; she was recently honored at the GLAAD media awards.
Check out Laverne’s behind the scenes video with TIME below: