My Hero Monday: Laverne Cox

My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog A Girl’s Voice. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased. 

The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.

I think MHM is the best thing – maybe the only good thing – about Mondays, don’t you? Normally I’m like “UGH, a brand-new week of responsibilities and stuff” but now I’m also like, “Ooh, I get to fangirl about my favorite lady heroes once a month!”

Anyway. This time, MHM doesn’t have a theme – it’s a free-choice month, so participants can write about absolutely whomever they wish. Enjoy!

Note: You can find my previous MHM posts here.

my hero monday

laverne cox 1Laverne Cox

Date of birth: May 29, 1984

Current age: 30

School(s): Alabama School of Fine Arts, Marymount Manhattan College

Profession: Actress, television producer, LGBTQ+ advocate

When did I first hear about her?

2013, I believe. My friend Orphu (who blogs at A Mirror Made of Words) thinks she’s cool too, so that’s how I first heard about her. I did some Googling, gradually learned more, and was basically like, “Wow, this is a really cool lady!”

What makes her one of my heroes?

 Where do I even begin?!

Let’s see. Well, first of all, Ms. Cox is a huuuuuuuuge advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. That topic is very important to me and I want to do similar work for the community someday, so naturally I admire her efforts.

More specifically, I admire her transgender advocacy. Sure, gay men and lesbians have more rights than they’ve ever had in the past, but the situation for other groups in the queer community is still pretty dismal. Trans people have very few legal protections, are more likely to live in poverty, are more likely to run away from home/be kicked out, and experience violence/murder at a disproportionately high rate, soooooo… that kind of puts the whole marriage equality fight (AKA the most well-known LGBTQ+ issue) in perspective, doesn’t it?

So I’m glad that someone is bringing more attention to trans issues.

I admire Laverne Cox because she is intelligent, well-spoken, and not afraid to call people out for their ignorant and/or malicious comments. Many people are getting better with regards to homophobia/heteronormativity, but still have a TON of misconceptions about trans people.

I’d imagine that it gets very frustrated to hear transphobic comments all the time… and then how does one respond to that? I know I don’t always feel like telling people, “Hey, you really should think twice about saying [insert thing here], because it’s hurtful/erroneous” because I get tired of having to repeat myself over and over and over again.

So I admire Laverne Cox’s refusal to let these comments pass, her willingness to discuss this stuff loads of times until people finally start getting it. She definitely has her work cut out for her.

Another thing I admire about Laverne Cox is her dedication. A quick glance at the speaking schedule on her website shows that she is SUPER busy; she gives a lot of talks at universities and whatnot. (Side note: Please speak at the University of Iowa sometime between fall 2015 and spring 2019, Ms. Cox! I’d be overjoyed if you showed up at my college.) She wouldn’t do this if she didn’t truly care. I really admire people (of ANY profession) who are willing to give up their precious free time in order to better the world in some way. I want to do a lot of LGBTQ+ advocacy someday but GAH, giving up my alone/reading time to interact with people would be hard for me.

And last but definitely not least, I am in awe of everything Laverne Cox has accomplished in just thirty years of age. She’s received awards from GLAAD, was nominated for an Emmy, produced her own TV show, played a trans woman on the popular show Orange is the New Black, and appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. (She is the first openly transgender person to do so.)

Pretty impressive, huh? No wonder I consider her one of the coolest people I’ve ever heard of. NEVER STOP BEING AWESOME, LAVERNE COX.

P.S. Before I move on to the quotes section, I’d like to share a video with you – since I seem to have made that a tradition in my previous MHM posts. Here is Laverne’s video for the It Gets Better project!

Notable Quotes

“Some folks, they just don’t understand. And they need to get to know us as human beings. Others are just going to be opposed to us forever. But I do believe in the humanity of people and in peoples’ capacity to love and to change.”

-~-

“Many in the trans community are fed up with LGBT organizations that continue to erase trans identity or just give lip service to trans issues. We need our cisgender allies – gay and straight – to treat transgender lives as if they matter, and trans people need multiple seats at the tables in the organizations that say they’re interested in LGBT equality; this absence has been painful since Stonewall.”

-~-

“The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.”

-~-

“My third grade teacher called my mother and said, ‘Ms. Cox, your son is going to end up in New Orleans in a dress if we don’t get him into therapy.’ And wouldn’t you know, just last week I spoke at Tulane University, and I wore a LOVELY green and black dress.”

-~-

So! Time for YOU to talk. How much did you know about Laverne Cox prior to reading my post? Have you heard any other good quotes from her that I missed? Are there any other cool queer and/or trans women I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Hey, you! Yes, you! Please help me decide a thing: I’ve written about only real women for MHM thus far, but… do you think it’s time to post about a fictional heroine? TELL ME YOUR OPINIONS, PEOPLES.

Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!

December 1

Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice

December 8

Samantha @ Bookish Serendipity

Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy

December 15

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

December 22

Cait @ Paper Fury

Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars

December 29

Wrap-up by Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
This entry was posted in LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to My Hero Monday: Laverne Cox

  1. That’s really interesting! She sounds great!

  2. matttblack42 says:

    Laverne Cox! I didn’t know much about her before this post, except that she is possibly the only woman in the world to honestly say she has an identical twin brother. Which explains how they made her character’s transition (in OitNB) seem so realistic.

  3. Cait says:

    *hides* I’d…never heard of her. >.> Well maybe I HAD but really the only thing I pay attention to IRL is, um, nothing. Everything I care about is virtual. lol I am a sad bean. I’m still trying to decide who to do for my MHM post. It’ll probably be fictional *whispers* I vote you do a fictional one someday!

    Laverne Cox definitely sounds inspiring and really awesome and really….someone to look up to, for sure. HUZZAH

  4. moosha23 says:

    Wow I think I heard of Lorraine Cox in passing but I never really registered what she did apart from being a transgender TV presenter (or something along those lines). It’s cool to hear how she’s advocating for the rights of the trans community…everyone has this one life and to know that a person is out there advocating for the human rights that are due to the trans community…well it just warms my heart. I love rights activists, and after hearing all the abuse transgender people go through…well it seems just about right that someone speaks up for them. 🙂

  5. ohhhh man. i’ve looked up to and admired laverne cox for over a year now.
    and at first it was honestly mostly because i’ve had so few high-profile role models to look to and go “hey! that — that’s who i could be! it’s possible!”

    and then it was because i was seeing quotes from her and genuinely admiring her as a person anyway, because i agreed with so much of what she was saying and thought she said it beautifully, and she just seemed like a wonderful person.

    …i hadn’t seen her “it gets better” video though, and i just have to say — thank you *so much* for including it in this. it kind of hit home in a lot of places. i might possibly be going to find some tissues once i finish typing this. you know. maybe.

    but yes, i look up to laverne cox so much and this was a really excellent post on her. rad post. rad lady. rad.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m glad you’ve found someone to look up to! And she really does say things beautifully – I love people who are good with words. It’s probably a writer thing.

      You’re welcome! *offers hugs if you need them*

  6. Taylor Lynn says:

    I’ve heard about Laverne Cox before, though I haven’t actually seen her in any shows or anything she’s acted in, and I don’t know *too* much about her. However, I think it’s incredible that she’s being so open about her life and standing up for LGBTQ+ rights, especially trans rights. She’s definitely making a change in the world, and based on the quotes you included here she sounds levelheaded and down-to-earth, too, which is always more likely to get people to listen and change and grow. Good for her–and great post celebrating her!!

    (PS I think a post about fictional heroines would totally be cool. But you probably knew I’d say that… 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, well, I haven’t either, actually! I just know her for her work towards equality – but I plan to start watching Orange is the New Black over winter break. *excited noises*

      She is definitely all of those things. 🙂

      OK, got it! Now, let’s see… narrowing down my fictional heroines will be hard… 😛

  7. She sounds like an amazing woman! Wow, I almost cried watching the video,

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