Many children would be excited to meet a celebrity, but one little girl had an extra-special reason to be excited about meeting Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox.
While 7-year-old M. may not be a regular viewer of the hit Netflix show (which her mother, Marlo Mack, admits is “not really appropriate viewing” for children), she knows that Cox is an important figure within the transgender community. And that is especially important to M. because she herself is transgender.
“I had shown M. the photo of Ms. Cox on the cover of TIME when it came out last year, so M. had a vague idea that this was someone important who was also transgender,” Mack writes. “But I don’t think she really got it until we showed up for the event.”
However, when Mack and her daughter showed up to the event, M. started to get more excited, especially when they found out they may have a chance to meet with the actress and activist.
According to Mack, M. parked herself in front of a door after the event, waiting for Cox to emerge. When she finally did, Cox approached the little girl to say Hello.
“‘I’m M.,’ my daughter said.
“Laverne smiled down at her. ‘Hello, M.’
“And I’m trans,’ M. said.
“I don’t think Ms. Cox saw that coming. The crowd around me gasped their approval (‘Did you hear what that little girl said?’). Laverne seemed at a bit of a loss.”
According to Mack, after hugs were exchanged and pictures were taken, Cox left M. with a few words of wisdom: “‘Remember, honey, transgender is beautiful.’ ”
Cox’s words echo another member of the transgender community, Caitlyn Jenner, who shared her first candid photo on Twitter last Saturday with the hashtag #TransIsBeautiful.