Laverne Cox has bravely opened up about a toxic relationship in her past that drove her to the edge.
The Orange is the New Black star, who's become a beacon of light for a community still regularly subject to hatred and violence, talks in Attitude's Awards issue about a time in her life that left her almost broken.
"I was so young, this guy was into me and I thought because I was black and trans that no one else was going to love me. He was an alcoholic, and I became his caretaker and enabler," she explains. "He was never physically abusive, only emotionally, that's important to say. Sometimes that's worse, he was such a mind fuck."
Laverne found herself trapped in the toxic relationship, where she admits she stayed in a bid to prove to herself that she was "worthy" enough to be loved.
"I could have died because of his alcoholism."
The actress continues: "I thought that if I could be perfect and great in bed, prepare him food and take care of him that I would be worthy. If I could turn someone who was emotionally abusive and unavailable and manipulative in someways into someone who was available and unabusive because I was so amazing, it would heal off the childhood trauma that I had taken into the relationship.
But she eventually gained the strength to leave him when she realised that she deserved someone who was going to love her the right way, and not take advantage of her insecurities and kind nature.
"Now I know it's not about me, it's about him. It's not about me being perfect or changing someone. That was never going to happen. This person is not going to change and I deserve better. I deserve someone who's going to treat me like a queen because I am one."
"I just needed to let him go," she adds.
Read Laverne's full interview in the Attitude Awards Issue, where the star opens up about battling for trans rights, her role in Orange is the New Black and how she finds dating as a trans woman – out now featuring six special edition collectable covers. Buy in print, subscribe or download.