100 Beautiful POC – Day 15

Laverne Cox

[15] Laverne Cox_5Laverne Cox is an actress, producer, and LGBT advocate, whom you probably know best as Sophia Burset from Orange is the New Black. Not only has she been nominated for an Emmy Award, a Critics’ Choice Award, and an NAACP Image Award for her portrayal, but she is also the first trans woman of color to have a lead role in a mainstream scripted TV series. She is also the first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show, VH1’s TRANSForm Me which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

Laverne is also currently producing a “documentary titled Free CeCe in order to heighten visibility and awareness surrounding CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman who was controversially sentenced to 41 months in prison for second degree manslaughter after allegedly defending herself against a racist and transphobic attack.” McDonald was eventually released after serving 19 months of her sentence, with Laverne waiting at the prison gates to greet her. “The documentary will focus on McDonald’s case, her experiences while incarcerated in a men’s prison and the larger implications of her case for the transgender community.”

In 2014 Laverne was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine and was interviewed for the issue on the transgender movements and her own experiences and struggles with developing her gender identity. Having always identified as a girl, Laverne faced years of bullying as well as internalized shame, which led her to attempt to commit suicide at age 11. Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, and as Laverne told Buzzfeed in a 2014 interview, her love of dancing and acting helped her pull through the difficult years of middle and high school.

In the 1990s she eventually made her way to New York, where she finally felt she had the freedom to explore her gender identity more deeply. And despite how far she’s come in terms of her self-actualization and self acceptance, she’s admitted that she still has moments where she feels like she’s eight years old again, being “bullied and chased home from school.” Nevertheless, with the tools to overcome these regressions now, Laverne remains committed to furthering the discussion on issues facing the trans community and advocating for increased visibility and understanding of the trans community, particularly trans people of color. 

Poised, deeply intelligent, and effortlessly relatable, Laverne is truly an inspiration and a wonderful human ❤💛💚💙💜


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