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Imagine feeling different your whole life and never knowing anyone who was like you. For a transgender man from a conservative family in Kansas City, Missouri, that was the case. Until now, when actress Laverne Cox gave him the ultimate surprise.
Ellen Degeneres has a new digital series called Fearless hosted by plus-size model Ashley Graham. The show follows heartwarming stories of people who need a bit of help embracing their truth. During the first episode, viewers were introduced to Rickey, a 25-year-old who started his transition a year ago.
He told Graham that he has not been able to have top surgery yet, which affects his confidence.
“The hoodies … it’s to hide my chest because I have to bind, and it makes me flat-chested, and they don’t know,” he explained. “Top surgery will make me more confident in myself because I feel trapped right now. But, this is who I am, and I don’t have to hide it anymore.”
Feeling trapped and lacking confidence has taken over parts of his life; Rickey admitted he would wake up at 5am to shower just so he didn’t have to see himself in the mirror.
After hearing his story, Graham said she wanted to introduce him to someone who he could relate to on a deep level. Who better than the Orange Is the New Black star and outspoken advocate for trans issues?
When Cox turned the corner Rickey was overcome with emotion. Graham and Cox both hugged and comforted him.
View this post on Instagram
I'm crying right now trying to write this caption. I am just so overwhelmed reliving getting to meet Rickey and being the first trans person Rickey has ever met in person. Thank you @ashleygraham for introducing me to Rickey on your new show #Fearless for #Ellentube. Thank you Rickey for inspiring me and being a huge part of why I do what I do. Click on the link in my bio to watch the full episode. #transawarenessweek #TransIsBeautiful #ashleygraham #ellendegeneres #ellen
A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on
Turns out Cox was the first trans person Rickey had ever met.
The actress offered up some important advice: “Everyone should be able to actualize themselves, and our journey is a little bit different than other people’s, but it’s the same journey. We’re just trying to be the best us we can be.”
Then to top it off she gave him $10,000 toward getting his top surgery.
After the episode aired, Cox took to her Instagram admitting she was “overwhelmed reliving getting to meet Rickey.”
“I’m crying right now trying to write this caption,” she explained.
Watch the full episode here:
Elizabeth VanMetre is a reporter based in Wyoming. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared on ETOnline, the New York Daily News, Yahoo Travel, and more. She hosts a local morning show in Wyoming.