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LGBTQ Black History Spotlight: Laverne Cox Shatters The Gender Box

Laverne Cox reminds us all that our narratives are moldable.


We can sculpt it and reshape it anytime we feel the need to.


We can vehemently oppose those who have an insatiable need and desire to define us while simultaneously reclaiming our power.


And when our stories are being told in ways that don’t support us, in ways that don’t show what’s true, we can then seize matters into our own hands and retell those robust stories of our truths.





“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Unapologetically Making History And Breaking Records


Laverne Cox is most notably known for her role as Sofia Burset on the successful Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, a show that depicts the prison life of female inmates. Cox plays a transgender inmate who was arrested for credit card fraud while trying to pay for her medical expenses for her transition.


She has more than shattered glass ceilings, she’s reinvented those ceilings and then shattered them again, and again. Despite starting off with very few roles to choose from or rejecting roles that didn’t align with how she wanted to be represented, Cox continued to persist.


She’s had a number of “firsts”. In 2015 Cox landed on TIME magazine as the first trans person to be featured on the cover. She was nominated for an Emmy for her documentary Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.


Cox is also the first trans person to become a regular broadcaster on television, co-hosting the show Doubt. She’s also the first trans person to grace the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.


And most recently Cox is the co-executive producer and host of the new television series called The Glam Masters which has some of the countries top makeup artists battling it out for a chance to collaborate with Kim Kardashian-West.


I don’t know about you, but I’m surely re-evaluating my life goals!


Enough Is Enough: A Voice For The Silenced


Cox is more than a TV celebrity. She has traveled throughout the country using her platform, her fame and notoriety to not only expose the plight of the trans community but to create cross-cultural conversations about gender identity.


Cox speaks vulnerably on TIME about her experiences of relentlessly being bullied and beaten for being too feminine as a child. Her life was in constant fight or flight mode, always being tensed at home, uncertain about what mood her mother was in for that day and being in a perpetual state of fear.


The trauma of her childhood spiraled and brought her into the shadows of shame. So much so, that at the age of 11, she took a bottle of pills and attempted to commit suicide.


Cox commends the arts and her imagination for saving her life. Feeling isolated by the world around her, she clutched onto dancing and performing.


In 2014 she was the keynote speaker for The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conference, “Creating Change.” She called out for healthcare policy changes, criminal justice changes and highlighted the horrific homicidal statistics of trans women of color.


“When I began to understand that it was my job to be of service, to use being trans as something that was not a deficit that would keep me from acting [but as] something that made me unique and special, my career changed.”


When Cox was interviewed by Elle magazine, with conviction, she says trans people shouldn’t have to blend in.


Every opportunity that Cox had she continued the discussion of trans issues. And as a result, her accolades include the Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project, the Community Leader Award from the LGBT Center of New York City, and named by Forum of Equality as one of their 31 LGBTQ icons, among other honors.


Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Power


Laverne Cox is in no way slowing down, not in her professional career and clearly not in the fight for inclusion for the trans community.


“You have to figure out a way to love and accept yourself if you want the world to accept you.”


Because of her fight and many more individuals such as Janet Mock and Geena Rocero, to name a few; there has been an increase of trans characters on television.

There’s a lot that we can take away from this. No matter what someone told you, and no matter where you come from, it’s never too late to rewrite your story.


You can create a story of empowerment because when you rewrite that story, that’s when you stop being a victim and reclaim your power.


We thank those who are fighting in the trenches so that LGBTQ persons are and remain visible.


Cover Photo courtesy of

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