Laverne Cox for Gay Times June 2018
Jacqueline Harriet for Gay Times

Laverne Cox spoke about what it was like to be “the first trans person to do a lot of things” and how this has influenced her activism work.

The 49-year-old has become one of the most famous trans people in the world after landing a prominent role in Orange is the New Black, something which led to her becoming the first out trans person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category.

Since then, she has continued to be a trailblazer by making history with cover appearances on Time and Cosmopolitan, as well as becoming the first openly trans Daytime Emmy Award winner.

In an intimate discussion with the Evening Standard, Laverne said “there are many overdue conversations that need to be had with and about trans people”.

She further explained: “I’ve realised that there’s something slightly co-dependent about my activism when it comes to trans issues.

“I take it very personally. I can’t not. When trans children are being discriminated against, or violence keeps escalating… Living in that space has actually become way too much for me.”


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2021 became the deadliest year on record for trans people in the United States, with at least 55 trans or gender non-confirming people being fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

Laverne reflected on this and stated that “a plethora of anti-trans propaganda in the media right now that’s just sort of going unchecked. It’s really a mess.”

“There was a conversation last year about trans-exclusionary radical feminists, and a particular person who made news making allegedly anti-trans statements. For you it’s a cultural war, but for me, it’s life or death. So I can’t,” she told the outlet, almost starting to cry. “This is always what happens.”

Despite this, she said she is still “insanely proud” of her achievements.

“I was the first trans person to do a lot of things — you know the résumé — and I hoped that some of the doors that I was able to open, with a lot of help, that other trans people will be able to walk through and surpass me,” she said. “So to see her walk through those doors and surpass my achievements in so many ways, it’s just… it gives me a lot of hope.”

Laverne is currently starring in Inventing Anna in the series regular role of Kacy Duke, who is described as “a celebrity trainer and life coach who — while centered enough to keep herself out of the real trouble — finds herself becoming a coach to more than just Anna in the wake of her crimes.”

It is now streaming on Netflix and you can watch the trailer below or by clicking here.