In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Laverne Cox opened up about how transphobia impacted her early in her transition, how she came to understand that her differences made her beautiful, and celebrating the unique beauty of all transgender people: 

For me always, obviously, I am a woman. But I am also a black woman and I’m also a trans woman. … I wasn’t assigned female at birth. I didn’t have that female adolescence per se in terms of puberty and all of that stuff. My experience is a trans experience. That doesn’t diminish my womanhood. …

I started the hashtag #TransIsBeautiful because I was doing a lecture and talking about this period in my life when I was being mis-gendered on the street a lot. I was experiencing lots of harassment—being called a man a lot on the street—and that still happens actually. Early in my transition, I would feel like a failure when that would happen. I would be like, “What am I doing wrong?” I was in this place where I finally accepted my womanhood and then the world wasn’t seeing that; they were calling me a man. …

Then I realized that trans people, a lot of us, just look different. We don’t all just look like non-trans people. And that’s OK. It’s not only OK, it’s beautiful.

I started looking at all these trans folks who have things about them that are noticeably trans and talking to different trans women who I thought were absolutely stunning who were still being called a man on the street. [I thought], “If this beautiful girl’s being called a man, like, something’s off. We live in a culture that does not celebrate trans beauty… Then, during a lecture, I was like, “Lets tweet and Instagram #TransIsBeautiful as a way to celebrate all those things about us that make us uniquely who we are.” At the end of the day, it’s not just for trans people. There are all these things that even people who don’t identify as trans don’t accept about themelves. For a lot of guys it might be being feminine. For women, it might be being masculine. #TransIsBeautiful is for everyone to embrace all of those things that make us uniquely ourselves.

Read the full interview here