• Chella Man and Laverne Cox are paving the way for trans representation in fashion. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
It's been almost six years since Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

20 Feb 2020 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 20 Feb 2020 - 4:17 PM

In 2014, actress and activist Laverne Cox made history by appearing on the cover of Time magazine, becoming the first out trans person to do so.

The magazine cover was titled The Transgender Tipping Point: America's next civil rights frontier, predicting the rise of mainstream visibility - politically, socially and culturally - for trans and gender diverse people around the world.

“Some folks, they just don’t understand," Cox, who was becoming a household name as part of Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, is quoted as saying in the corresponding article.

"And they need to get to know us as human beings. Others are just going to be opposed to us forever. But I do believe in the humanity of people and in people’s capacity to love and to change.”

More covers soon came, with Cox getting front-page glossy for Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, The Advocate, Essence, and even British Vogue.

Now, in 2020, Cox has landed yet another magazine cover (Out magazine), this time sharing the honour with Chella Man, a 21-year-old trans actor, model and artist who has built a strong online following by sharing his experiences as a transgender, deaf and Jewish person of colour.

The occasion marks almost six years since Cox appeared on the cover of Time - and the progress since has been slow and hard-fought, but heartening. So much so that we decided to take a look at some of our favourite magazine covers featuring trans and non-binary stars; a way of acknowledging the ongoing visibility and celebration of trans voices in the entertainment and media industries.

Laverne Cox

“I could cry," Cox says in the new issue of Out magazine, reflecting on the new generation of young trans people who have taken the world by storm since her Time cover in 2014.

"I really could ... because I don't want to have children. But I kind of feel like these are my babies. Not that I’ve even met them or whatever, but it's like, this is the dream. This has been the dream for me."

She continued: “The only reason I did reality television is [because] I was consuming media years ago, [and when] I watched The Real World and Making the Band, I was like, ‘What would it be like if a trans person were on here?’ Now we are, and it's just glorious.”

Chella Man

“My voice is now heard, and I'm able to be my own representation,” Man, who rose to fame last year by portraying superhero Jericho in the second season of Titans, told Out about his newfound visibility.

“It's been a huge f***ing privilege, and it's been absolutely amazing."

He added: "I'm continuously learning so much about myself while being that person I wish that I had when I was younger.”

Laith Ashley

"I would self-destruct, I would disappear because I didn’t want to be here," Ashley told Attitude magazine in 2016, when he appeared on the cover.

"For a long time I prayed to God to let me die. I’d think I hate life, hate being trans, hate the world. I was very negative. I still struggle with that from time to time but remind myself I’m pretty blessed."

He added: "I have a family who [is] supportive. They may not agree with who I am, but they do love me. I had the privilege of going to school. I have the privilege of this experience. I love who I see in the mirror now."

Indya Moore

A breakout star of FX series Pose, Indya Moore last year made history as the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Elle US - additionally gracing the cover of ES magazine months later.

"I feel more confident standing in front of the mirror, but I feel less confident standing in front of others; it feels like a lot of pressure," Moore told ES of grappling with their rising profile.

"I’ve heard so many things about what happens when you become famous, that you stop growing, and that when you rise fast you fall hard," they added. 

"I want to make sure those things don’t happen to me. I want to have a long and healthy career."

Valentina Sampaio

In March of 2017, the editor of French Vogue, Emmanuelle Alt, decided to give the magazine's cover to Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio - the first time a trans model had appeared on the iconic publication's cover.

“We are living in a world at the moment, what is happening right now, we are stepping back,” she said at the time, speaking to US Vogue.

“Instead of being in a constant evolution, which is what should happen, human rights...they’re not going in a good direction. This cover is about the importance of those rights, and that we still need to make progress on an awful lot of stuff.”

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