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.
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!
“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!
nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel
Wrap-up by Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice