The trans icon opens up about her personal journey in the latest episode of Katie Couric’s podcast, recalling how she came to terms with her gender identity before hitting it big.
“It wasn’t a struggle for me, it was a struggle for everybody else,” the “Orange Is the New Black” star said of her childhood in Alabama. “I was always feminine. Everyone was telling me I was a boy, and I knew I was a girl. Up until that time, I didn’t think that there was a difference between boys and girls.”
A turning point came, she said, when she was briefly sent to “reparative” therapy in grade school because of her gender expression.
“I internalized a tremendous amount of transphobia,” she told Couric. “It wasn’t until I moved to New York and met real trans people that I was able to accept trans people and accept myself.”
She then quipped, “The irony of my life is that before I transitioned, kids called me a girl, and after I transitioned, people called me a man.”
Things took a serious turn in the interview when Cox discussed the setbacks members of the transgender community have experienced under President Donald Trump.
“Trans people are under attack right now in this country. ... Our lives are on the line,” she said, pointing to the controversial “bathroom bills” that have been implemented in a number of states as well as Trump’s efforts to ban trans recruits from the U.S. military.
“It’s an intersectional issue,” she continued. “It gets complicated, because it’s not just a gender thing. It’s a race thing, it’s a class thing ... all of those things are diminishing our lives.”
Listen to Cox’s full interview with Couric below.