Laverne Cox tells trans kids they are ‘divine’ as she campaigns in Massachusetts
Actor and trans campaigner Laverne Cox has told trans children that they have a “divine purpose,” while urging citizens in Massachusetts to vote to retain legal protections for trans people in an upcoming referendum.
Cox was speaking at an event for the Yes on 3 Campaign in Boston on Wednesday (October 24), which is being led by national LGBT+ rights group Freedom for All Americans to keep Senate Bill 2407, a law introduced in 2016 and protects trans people from discrimination in public places, including toilets, shopping centres and restaurants.
In her speech, Cox addressed trans children in the audience. “You are here for a divine purpose no matter what anybody says about you. You are divine. You have a legacy of history,” she said, according to Into.
The star also opened up about her own struggle with discrimination ahead of her transitioning, nearly two decades ago. She discussed how she had to emotionally “arm herself” before leaving the house due to the harassment she’d face in the streets, and how she made notes stating “My name is Laverne Cox and I should not be referred to by any other names,” and “My preferred pronouns are she and her and I should not be referred to by any other pronouns” in case she was found dead.
“My plan was to have a copy in each of my pockets and then to have them placed around my apartment because I was planning to kill myself,” she said, quoted in The Boston Globe. “I wanted to make sure I would not be dead-named in my death, that the disrespect and disregard for my identity that I was experiencing on a daily basis would not happen when I was dead.”
One question in the Massachusetts midterm election on November 6 is a veto referendum the bill, meaning the public will vote on whether they want to repeal the ban on discrimination in areas of public access on the basis of gender identity.
A ‘No’ vote would mean this anti-discrimination law is repealed, while a ‘Yes’ vote would keep it in place.
Cox told the audience that the Massachusetts referendum is a “reminder to me that the fight is never done.”
She added: “That even when we think we have our rights, there are still people out there who want to take them away.
“But, I stand here before you today and with these folks, and I don’t know how someone can look at the humanity of these incredible people, and say that they do not deserve the same rights as everybody else.”
The Orange is the New Black star, who recently spoke out against a leaked memo by the Trump administration that would endanger trans people’s rights, continued: “Massachusetts has an opportunity to send a message to this administration, has an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the country that this is not who we are as Americans, that this is not who we are as human beings, that we respect the humanity of everyone.”
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In September, trans campaigners in the state criticised a “fear-mongering” anti-transgender advert showing a man lurking in a women’s changing room, which was put out by supporters of the ‘No’ campaign.
A recent study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy showed that there is no empirical evidence to the claim that allowing transgender people to use the public facility of their choice would increase violations of privacy and crime.
Mason Dunn, executive director of Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition, told PinkNews: “This advertisement from anti-transgender activists relies on lies about our rights and identities.”
Dunn recently hiked across Massachusetts with fellow campaigner Ev Evnen as part of an initiative called #Hike4Rights to raise awareness about the negative impact of the law being repealed.