While campaigning for transgender
rights in Massachusetts, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox talked
about how bullying and harassment nearly drove her to kill herself.
On the ballot next week in
Massachusetts is Question 3, an attempt to repeal a 2016 law that
protects transgender people from discrimination in public places such
as restaurants and stores.
“If they can roll back civil rights
protections in Massachusetts for transgender people, they can do it
anywhere,” Cox told PEOPLE.
Cox, 46, spoke at a Yes on Question 3
campaign event in Boston.
“I stand before you today a proud,
black transgender woman, and I am reminded that trans is beautiful,”
told the crowd. “Two years ago you added public accommodations
to the civil rights protections for transgender citizens of your
great state. That was an amazing thing. That was something to
celebrate. And here we are two years later defending that. It is a
reminder to me that the fight is never done. That even when we think
we have our rights, there are still people out there who want to take
them away. I don’t know how someone can look at the humanity of
these incredible people and say they don’t deserve the same rights
as everybody else. It’s been stated today that Massachusetts has
led the way time and time again, and you have the time to do that
once more by voting yes on 3.”
Cox said that Massachusetts has an
“opportunity to send a message to” the Trump administration.
She also talked about her own struggles
as a transgender woman, saying that she once planned to kill herself.
“One day I sat down and I typed up
notes, and the notes said, ‘My name is Laverne Cox and I should not
be referred to by any other name. My preferred pronouns are ‘she’
and ‘her’, and I shouldn’t be referred to as any other
pronouns.’ And I made about five copies and had a copy in each of
my pockets and placed them around my apartment because I was planning
to commit suicide,” Cox said. “I was planning to kill myself. I
wanted to make sure that I would not be mis-gendered in my death. I
wanted to be sure that I would not be dead-named in my death. That
the disregard for my identity on a daily basis would not happen when
I was dead. I am not entirely sure why I didn’t commit suicide when
I was thinking about doing it 17 years ago … and I am so grateful
that I decided not to try to take my life. I’m so grateful that I
survived. I have come to understand that I am here for a divine
purpose and I want every trans person to know that you are here for a
divine purpose no matter what anyone says about you.”