Laverne Cox was first trans woman to speak to Caitlyn Jenner before she came out
Laverne Cox has spoken about being in touch with Caitlyn Jenner before she publicly came out as trans in 2015.
In an interview with The Cut published Wednesday as part of the publication’s “Women and Power” series, Cox spoke about her behind-the-scenes role counselling the Olympian on her decision to come out.
She said: “I don’t know if a lot of people know that I’m the first transgender person that Caitlyn Jenner ever talked to.
“A friend of mine called me and said, ‘The tabloid rumours are true. Caitlyn is trans and she’s never talked to a trans person before. Can you talk to her?’ And one of the first things I asked her when she called, because I didn’t feel comfortable calling her by her old name—I don’t want to dead-name her—was, “Have you picked a name yet?” So I started her calling her Caitlyn then.”
Cox added: “We talked for a couple of hours and it was lovely. After she came out, people were constantly asking me about her. Initially I was like, ‘I’m not going to say anything about her until she speaks for herself.’
“After her Diane Sawyer interview, I did talk about her, and what I remember saying at the time was that it is so important that we have diverse representation for trans people — that we’re not all the same and that some people might not connect to my story, but they might connect to hers.”
The Orange is the New Black star also noted controversy over Jenner’s political views. An avowed Republican, Jenner was initially a staunch defender of Donald Trump until his administration began to take aim at transgender rights.
Cox said: “It became difficult to support her, because of some of her politics. I’ve been very intentional about not talking about her, mainly because she’s become so divisive.
“But I have love for her. She’s still a human being.”
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Until Jenner came out as trans in April 2015, Cox was one of the best-known transgender people in the United States owing to her role on Orange is the New Black.
The show’s cast confirmed in an emotional video on Wednesday that the show would be coming to a close with its upcoming seventh season, which is expected to be released in summer 2019.
It is unclear whether Cox will be returning for the show’s final season, after her character was released from prison during season six.