And here is the next informative article to start the first week of our project! This time it’s a piece written on Laverne Cox, the transgender LGBTQ+ activist whos work as an actress means a great deal for our society.
Laverne Cox | *29-05-1972 | USA | Actress and LGBTQ+ advocate
According to a national survey by the Trevor Project, about 40% of LGBTQ+ youth in the USA have considered suicide in 2019. Why start with such a dreadful piece of information in an article that should be about celebrating the power and accomplishments of women in history? Because Laverne Cox, well-known from her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, also attempted suicide at the age of just eleven. “I was bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned male at birth was supposed to act. The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was having all these feelings about other boys. And I didn’t want to live,” Cox said in an interview with ABC News.
Fortunately, she survived. The 48 year old woman, who was raised only by her mother and grandmother, does not only play an important role in the representation of the trans community in the film industry, she also helped raise awareness and give voice to members of the trans community. Besides becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award – since composer Angela Morley in 1990 and having many more awards – Cox also fought for trans rights outside of the world of the entertainment industry. In 2014, for example, when a new Arizona law allowed police to arrest anyone suspected of “manifesting prostitution”, Laverne Cox joined the #StandWithMonica campaign that opposed this law. The LGBTQ+ community, led by trans woman and sex work activist Monica Jones, was convinced that this new law was targeted at transgender women of color. “Laws like this manifestation law really support systematically the idea that girls like me, girls like me and Monica, are less than [others] in this country.”
Laverne Cox has not been unnoticed by the LGTBQ+ community. Her LGBTQ+ peers at Logo TV marked her as a pioneer for the transgender community, what can be seen in her impact in the media. Cox’s prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about transgender culture and how being transgender intersects with someones race. In 2015, she was named by Time as one of the hundred most influential people, as well as being included in the People ‘world’s most beautiful women’ list.
The story of Laverne Cox is an important story to be told, not only to show those 40% of LGBTQ+ youth in the USA that they are not alone, but also because her impact and career show us that even when you are bullied because of the way you are, it is important to not give up. In an interview with ABC News, Cox said that “so many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this character [of Sophia Burset]. Having your story told validates your experience. It’s like, ‘I am not alone anymore, and maybe I will be OK.” So besides being a beacon of hope for the trans community, Laverne Cox is most of all a very great actress.
Credits: Author: Jeroen Vos
Image: Sachyn Mital