Strong is Her Sexy: Laverne Cox named Glamour Woman of the Year 2014

Strong is Her Sexy highlights the achievements of inspiring women doing inspiring work
and demonstrating their inner strength and beauty.

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox on the red carpet at the Citi/AAdvantage MasterCard Priceless Access Performance with Justin Timberlake on Thursday, July 10th. Credit: Sachyn Mital

This week, Glamour magazine announced Laverne Cox as the 2014 winner of its Woman of the Year award.

Laverne is best known for playing inmate Sophia Burset on the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Working in the salon at a women’s prison, Sophia dishes out sass, style, and even some sex education to the other Litchfield inmates.

Through this character, viewers get a sympathetic but candid portrayal of some of the very real issues faced by transgender individuals. Transitioning from male to female, Sophia endures a strained relationship with her family, including her son, and battles with the budget-conscious state prison about access to the hormones to continue her therapy.

Offscreen, Laverne has been making waves as an LGBT advocate. She was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy, and to appear on the cover of Time magazine. She is also the recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak award from GLAAD for her transgender advocacy work.

LGBT issues and rights have been at the center of debate across the U.S. for much of this millennium so far, but transsexuality remains opaque to much of mainstream America. Nuanced, sympathetic characters like Sophia, and influential personalities like Laverne, go a long way in creating bridges of understanding and leading by example.

As a woman of color, Laverne also shines a spotlight on the intersectionality of racial and sexual discrimination and attitudes.

In her interview with Glamour, Laverne noted that part of the reason she wanted to play Sophia was that the part deviated from the typical hooker character available to trans actors.

So we give a shout out to Laverne Cox for wearing her Strong and Sexy for all to see and serving to inspire the public with a message of authenticity and compassion.

Marisa is a professional writer/editor and creative writing teacher living in southwest Ohio with her mutt. Recently divorced, she is busy enjoying the single life and all the adventures it offers. She believes the sexiest thing you can do is love yourself first, and is a champion of clear communication and listening to your gut as well as your heart. Got a question for Marisa? Write to

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