With the second season of the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black arriving June 6, Laverne Cox is right on TIME.
The OITNB star, known for playing the transgender inmate Sophia, stands tall on the mag's latest cover to discuss equal rights for the trans community and achieving happiness. Read an excerpt from the interview below.
Who was in your house growing up?
My twin brother and my mother, just the three of us. I never knew my father. He was never married to her mother, he was never a part of my life. It was just my mom, my brother and me.
And what were you like as a child?
I was really creative. I started to dance very young. I loved to dance. I begged my mother to put me into dance classes and finally, in third grade, she did. Tap and jazz but not ballet. She thought ballet was too gay … Throughout all of that, I was very feminine and I was really bullied, majorly bullied. 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.
Are there any particular instances of bullying that stand out in your memory?
There was this one instance in junior high when I had gotten off the bus and I was chased by a group of kids, which was, you know, pretty normal. They couldn’t really bully me on the bus because the bus driver could see in the rearview mirror, and that wasn’t allowed. But the second we got off the bus, they would try to beat me up. So I’d have to start running, immediately. So that day I was running for my life, basically, and four or five kids caught me. They were in the band. And I remember being held down and hit with drumsticks by these kids. And a parent saw it, the parent of some other student, and called the principal and the principal called my mother and my mother found out about it.
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