Laverne Cox: ‘Trans people deserve to be counted’ (VIDEO)
The Orange Is the New Black actress has attacked the way trans people are currently represented in society.
Focusing on the US census’ inability to represent transgender people in its current form, Cox highlighted the dangers of ignoring members of the trans community by not correctly representing them.
Census data has historically focused on the binary gender options: male and female.
The Emmy-nominated actress and transgender activist argued that due to the lack of alternate gender options, the census does not include her – and people like her – as it assumes that everyone is born into a gender that they will forever identify with.
“What message are we sending to young people who are trans and gender-noncomforming when we don’t even count them?” she said.
“We suggest that their identities don’t even matter.”
The actress – who was speaking at the 2015 Social Good Summit – went on to argue that for trans people to truly feel a part of society, there has to be a “systemic change” to “social policy” across the United States.
“I was thinking that visibility is only part of the equation. We must have social policy, systemic change,” she said.
“And then I thought about the census.
“Systemically, this idea of the gender binary is very much institutionalised in the fact that we just don’t count trans people,” she added.
Last month, the actress declared a “state of emergency”, due to the increasing death rate of trans women in America.
Seventeen trans women are known to have been murdered in the United States this year alone – fifteen of whom were trans women of colour – leading activists to describe the the situation as “an epidemic of anti-trans violence”.
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“We in the transgender community right now are reeling,” she said.
Voicing her concern over the growing number of trans related crimes, she declared: “It really is a state of emergency.
“Your life should not be in danger simply for being who you are,” she added.
President Barack Obama has promised to put race-related murders and hate crimes at the forefront of his agenda, after being urged to investigate the worrying increase in trans-related killings.
Watch a clip of the speech below.