In an interview with The Advocate's
LGBTQ&A podcast, actress and transgender rights activist Laverne
Cox said that she was done debating whether transgender is real.
The 47-year-old Cox is best known for
playing Sophia Burset, a transgender inmate on Netflix's Orange Is
the New Black.
In 2014, Cox became the first
transgender person to cover Time magazine.
The Time cover and her work on
Orange Is the New Black made Cox famous.
“I was prepared,” Cox said of her
sudden fame. “I think the beauty of having my breakthrough moment
as an actor, that also coincided with the advocacy work that I was
doing, having that breakthrough moment over 40 and after sort of
struggling in New York City to be an actor for over 20 years, I was
“It's really, really hard if you
don't know who you are and all of a sudden, the world is telling you
who you are. If you do not have a sense already of who you are and
then all of a sudden you're famous, I think that's very, very
Cox said that the conversation on being
transgender has “shifted” since 2014.
“I was thinking about this now as I
prepare to talk more about the Title VII case that's going to the
Supreme Court on October 8 and there are amicus briefs that
are being submitted to the Supreme Court by folks who think it should
be legal to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community in employment.
They're basically debating the legitimacy of trans people, right?
That there's no such thing as being non-binary or trans and I'm just
like, 'I'm not interested in debating my identity or existence
anymore,'” Cox said.
“At stake with Title VII is really,
is it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people? And I don't think
that's the issue. I think the issue is, should it be legal to
discriminate against anyone in this country? And I say no.”
“So I'm just done debating my
existence. I'm done debating whether trans is real. I'm real. I'm
sitting here and I have lived experiences as a woman, as a woman of
trans experience, as a black woman, and so I'm done with that and I
know a lot of trans folks are done with that.”
“We don't need to debate trans
existence. We need to say that we shouldn't be discriminating against
people because of who they are,” she added.