Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Laverne Cox Respectfully Redirects to the Real Lived Experiences of Trans People

Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera made appearances on Katie Couric's talk show on Monday.

When Katie posed a problematic question, Ms. Cox decided to use this opportunity to bring up issues of trans justice in an incredibly respectful,  redirecting way.

Ms. Couric had tried to bring up the question of surgery with Carmen, who deflected. Katie Couric then tried to ask a similar question of Laverne, and this was her response:

"I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. 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. 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."

The Orange is the New Black star then addressed the recent murder of Islan Nettle last August, in which the NYPD said a man used anti-gay slurs while beating Nettles so severely, Nettles went into a coma, never to regain consciousness.  Cox adeptly rattled off compelling statistic after statistic, of violence and oppression against trans Americans. She continued with:

"By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination."

Ms. Cox is currently working on a documentary Free CECE in order to bring that story to a greater audience. CeCe McDonald was the victim of a hate based attack, and in her self defense, her attacker was killed. It has been reported that Ms. McDonald will be released on January 13, 2014. If accurate, she will have served 19 months of a 41 month sentence.