Trans Activist: Laverne Cox

Everyone loves the Netflix show Orange is the New Black, right? I know I do. There’s just something about bad ass women in prison. Not to mention the representation for queer people and people of color! (I’ll admit, not perfect, but it’s better than most shows!) Thanks to OiTNB, Laverne Cox had a platform to continue doing what she does best: working toward equality for the trans community.

I had the pleasure of seeing Laverne speak back in 2015 with the LBGT Resource Center staff at MSU. She talked about her successes and failures as a trans woman, and mainly inspired the queer youth in the audience and reassured them that anything is possible regardless of the hardships you might face. I was truly inspired by her talk and I admired the way she carried herself and spoke about her experiences. Since seeing her, I have been keeping track of her in the media and seeing what she has to say about different issues.

When Trump was elected, it was clear that things would be difficult for trans Americans. Earlier this year, he repealed a bill that would protect Trans students in public bathrooms. Laverne Cox and student Gavin Grimm both spoke out about this injustice, stating that trans people can’t operate in the world if they don’t have access to bathrooms.

The main argument that conservatives have against trans bathroom protections is that people could “pretend to be trans” and potentially harm other people in the bathroom. However, Laverne Cox knows that this argument is invalid. She says,

“I heard someone say earlier, ‘What if someone pretends to be trans so they can have access to a girl’s bathroom?’ That doesn’t happen. In the hundreds of the cities all over the country where we had public accommodation protections for trans people, no one poses as trans so they can have access to a women’s bathroom so they could assault women. That doesn’t happen. And our opponents know that. They’re trying to make sure that these bathroom laws are about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space.”

Conservatives simply want to make it harder for trans people to exist as themselves in the world, and they will come up with any argument to deny it. At the end of the day, trans rights are civil rights and there are many men and women like Laverne Cox that are starting to speak out and demand equal treatment.

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