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,” Cox 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.”