Laverne Cox is celebrating her birthday today by appearing on the cover of TIME, and damn. She looks incredible. Cox is a truly inspirational activist and voice that expands far beyond advocating for the transgender community, and it’s heartening, albeit a bit late to the party, to see Cox getting such mainstream recognition.
I know this is possibly besides the point, but I can’t help but mention how great she looks. I’m a big fan of Cox’s pleated navy dress and flowing long hair, but mostly I love her obvious strength. Instead of posing her in a submissive position that seems all too common for powerful women (see: Marissa Mayer in Vogue) or playing on her sex appeal over her agenda (see: TIME‘s own mistake with their Beyoncé cover), she looks like she’s ready to take on the world. And she is.
Many voices have pointed out that it’s about time Cox started getting serious mainstream attention–since she was thrust into a bigger spotlight on Orange Is The New Black, she’s been an outspoken advocate about transgender issues, and started to gain some mainstream traction around her absolutely perfect response to Katie Couric‘s prying, invasive, and irrelevant questions about trans people. But she is widely still known as a spokesperson for a niche group instead of what she really is–a civil rights activist relevant to all of us. Good for TIME for waking the hell up (after egregiously omitting her from their list of 100 Most Influential People), taking a look at the cultural landscape, and putting someone as important as Laverne Cox on the cover. It’s about damn time.