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I saw Laverne Cox!

Last week the fabulous Laverne Cox was in Wichita Kansas - actress from Orange is the New Black, activist, public speaker! Wichita State's office of diversity brought her in and PACKED this auditorium with college students and everybody else on my facebook feed, it was the event of the season from what I could tell on my (biased, yes) circle of friends.

She told us the amazing story of growing up in the south and knowing from such a young age that she should be a woman, struggling with the idea that her identity was a sin, trying to push it away. Then growing up to study dance and acting in New York, feeling beautiful and accepted in the scene she'd found, transitioning to live as a woman, and now she's this amazingly successful actress.

But even with all her success in her life, she still feels unsafe. It's interesting to hear from a trans woman living in New York City, this will sound crazy but all the trans people I know live in farms in Kansas. They keep to themselves and everyone in their fucked up little towns just knows them and either ostracizes or accepts them, there's no in between, they know what they're going to run into every day. But they are all alone and I know they feel isolated. In an urban setting, you're always more likely to find people like yourself - but you also never know who you'll run into on the street. Violence towards trans people is a looming scary issue that never goes away. A trans woman will hear someone scream, "YOU'RE A MAAAAN!" and then what's about to happen? They never know, they live with this threat, who's going to hate them and snap, there are murders in the news, the murderers aren't brought to justice.

She repeated this Cornel West quote, "Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."

She also gave the impression that she is not trying to pass as someone who's gender was assigned woman from day 1. It is beautiful to be a trans woman. She wants people to recognize her struggle, and wants us to accept together that gender is something we decide for ourselves. It was a light bulb for me.

Her speech was about an hour long and I was hooked on every word, she's an amazing speaker and so expressive. She talked about race, feminism, intersectionality, and over and over reinforced the point that trans lives matter, black lives matter. It has to be safer in our world to be trans, and black, and a woman, and every intersection.

If Laverne Cox comes anywhere within 200 miles of where you live, pay to see her, your week will be made!


Posts from This Journal by “feminism” Tag


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this. I don't watch television, so I had to Google Laverne Cox, but I have several trans friends, at least one of whom loves OITNB, so I had a general awareness of her character on the show. Her comment about gender vs sex is interesting. When addressing gender issues at work, we make the distinction between sex (biological) and gender (social/cultural), but we don't often think about it in terms of how individuals decide gender for themselves. I'll be reflecting on that for a bit and seeing whether and how we need to be tweaking our approach.
May. 7th, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC)
She seems like a lovely person. It must be pressure to be the first on TV. She shouldn't have to be the spokesperson for everyone, but it's great she is.
It's such a long, expense, and painful ordeal. It's tragic it can be minimized by others ranging from random comments to violence.
May. 7th, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
I am so jealous right now. I would love to hear her speak. I hope in a couple of years, maybe when my oldest is a little older, because I'd love to take him.
May. 7th, 2015 09:12 pm (UTC)

I just love her. I wish I could have gone!

May. 8th, 2015 06:11 am (UTC)
I have been trying to explain trans people to my husband, who just isn't getting it. He tries, I guess, he he sees it as all relating to sexual activity, rather than as one's identity personally and within society. I am hopeful that one day he will start to grasp the concept...
May. 8th, 2015 07:56 am (UTC)
lucky you! I would adore to listen to Laverne Cox!
May. 9th, 2015 08:41 am (UTC)
*blink* I had no idea she's trans. Not that it makes a difference, I'm just rather shocked that this fact doesn't come up regularly in connection with her. The fact that it hasn't actually gives me some hope for society -- that she can be such a public figure without that fact constantly being attached to her.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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