Transgender actress Laverne Cox got a standing ovation on May 6 while speaking to over a thousand students at the Titan Gym, where she encouraged them to live authentic lives and move beyond gender expectations, according to the California State University, Fullerton’s website.
“I stand before you an artist, an actress, a sister and a daughter — and I believe it’s important to name the various intersected components of my multiple identities because I’m not just one thing, and neither are you,” she said.
Associated Students Inc. sponsored the Orange is the New Black star’s visit, who shared her own experience to encourage those in attendance. Cox cited statistics from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence that show homicide rates in the LGBTQ community to be highest among transgender women of color. She also shared another result from a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality that revealed that 78 percent of students K-12 who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming have experienced harassment and bullying.
“It is a state of emergency for far too many people across this nation,” said Cox.
Cox, who grew up in Alabama with a single mother and her twin brother, spoke to a rapt audience of the constant bullying she experienced early in life:
“When I got off the bus, I would have to really start running, every single day, or else I would be beaten up that day” — as well as feelings of shame about who she was and a suicide attempt at the age of 11.
“I didn’t feel really safe at school, and I didn’t feel really safe at home, but where I really felt safe was in my imagination,” explained Cox.
Earlier in the month, Laverne Cox was said to have stole the limelight at the White House Correspondent Dinner hosted by President Obama and here’s her snapshot with the President and First Lady Michelle Obama.
She was seen with her date, who was formerly an MSNBC host, Ronan Farrow and also John Legend and his wife, Chrissey Teigen at the White House dinner. It was reported by Newnownext.com at the time, that her pose with President Obama and Michelle was blowing up Facebook feeds.
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Photo Credit: newnownext.com/fullerton.edu