As one of the stars of the highly acclaimed Netflix original series, “Orange Is the New Black,” Laverne Cox is glad that she can use her newfound fame to shine a light on the issues that transgendered people have to face everyday.
Cox sat down with Katie Couric on Monday (Jan. 6), but Couric was mostly interested in talking to Cox about her genitalia, in order to “educate” others who may not be “familiar with transgenders.” Cox responded to that with a classy and intelligent shutdown.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people,” Cox says. “And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.”
She continues, “Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.”
Cox then focused a spotlight on the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old trans woman, and the staggering rate of violence against trans people in the United States. “By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination,” Cox says.
Watch the full interview below: