The Transgender Tipping Point

May 29 2014: A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lovely Laverne Cox!

TIME

In the beaux-arts lobby of the nourse theater in San Francisco, men in deep V-necks and necklaces walk by women with crew cuts and plaid shirts buttoned to the top. Boys carrying pink backpacks kiss on the lips, while long-haired ladies whose sequined tank tops expose broad shoulders snap selfies. About 1,100 people, many gleefully defying gender stereotypes, eventually pack the auditorium to hear the story of an unlikely icon. “I stand before you this evening,” Laverne Cox, who stars in the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, tells the crowd, “a proud, African-American transgender woman.” The cheers are loud and long.

Almost one year after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans were free to marry the person they loved, no matter their sex, another civil rights movement is poised to challenge long-held cultural norms and beliefs. Transgender people–those who identify with a gender other than the sex they…

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