Laverne Cox on Violence Against Trans People

"We cannot continue to stigmatize the existence and the identity of trans people." Actress Laverne Cox's has a message about the epidemic of violence and discrimination against transgender people.

Double-edged sword of trans visibility

American actress, equal rights advocate Laverne Cox is passionate about combatting the issues faced by trans people. In the U.S., at least 18 transgender people have died from violence so far in 2019. Since 2013, it has felt like trans visibility has increased at breakneck speed. We’ve witnessed Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, successful TV shows such as Transparent. Earlier trans actor Daniela Vega became the first trans person to present at the Academy Awards, and the film in which she starred, A Fantastic Woman, about the experience of institutional and interpersonal transphobia, won the Oscar for best foreign language film.

“We have to change our hearts and minds. Policies are important but each individual in their hearts has to say that no one should deserve to lose their lives simply for being who they are. Over 50% of trans people make less than $10,000 a year. So, poverty in my community is a huge issue. Doing the work to end poverty is interconnected with issues of HIV, interconnected with issues of transphobia and sexism. They are all interconnected, and they're all related. Yeah, we have to do all this work together. I think globally, for trans folks, so much of it is still about stigma. It's about education. And then it's about access. We cannot continue to stigmatize the existence and the identity of trans people because that leads to our deaths, that leads to us living in poverty, not being in the good jobs, policies that here in my country, that they're created to limit the possibility of us being able to have. We have to end this stigma. Change. Trans people are human beings who deserve to live. The violence that exists against trans people globally is an epidemic that is killing way too many of us.

HRC has been tracking reports of fatal anti-transgender violence for the past several years and previous reports can be found from 2015-2019. Cox invites everyone around the world to embrace trans men and women for who they are.