Orange Is The New Black’s
Laverne Cox On The Freedom
To Be Who You Are


“Orange Is The New Black” actress Laverne Cox held forth on the Katie show with enormous charm and grace on how focusing on the genitalia of transgender people distracts from the real issues that transgender people face.

Katie may have intended to satisfy her audience’s prurient curiosity, or she may have just meant to educate — and educate Cox did, asserting that “the preoccupation with transitioning and surgery objectifies transpeople” and distracts from “the real lived experiences” of transpeople, and the reality of their lives, which is that they are so often the object of violence, that  they face discrimination disproportionately to other people in the LGBT community, that the unemployment rate among transpeople is twice the national average, four times for transpeople of color, and that the homicide rate in the LGBT community is highest among transwomen.

Cox, who has been called a roll model but who prefers the term “possibility model,” for the way it captures the way that her life illustrates what is possible, used her platform to highlight the murder of a transgender woman who was beaten to death just for being who she is. Cox, who is herself transgender, and who plays a transgender woman on Orange, is a powerful reminder to all of us of what is possible when you stand inside your authentic self and claim your right to a fully realized life no matter what.


PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.

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