Laverne Cox, the Transgender Actor who has Made History Countless Times
Laverne Cox is the first transgender actor to be nominated for an Emmy Award since composer Angela Morley in 1990. She is best known for her role as Sophia Burset on Netflix’s original series Orange Is the New Black. Laverne Cox helped bring the transgender rights movement to the forefront thanks to her iconic Time magazine cover, titled “The Transgender Tipping Point.”
In 2015, the gorgeous transgender actor won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for Laverne Cox Presents. The T Word made her the first openly transgender woman to win the award. In 2017, she became the first transgender actor to play a transgender series regular on broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS’s Doubt.
In April 2014, Cox was honoured by GLAAD with its Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her work as an advocate for the transgender community. In June 2014, Cox became the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Cox is the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of a Cosmopolitan magazine with her February 2018 cover on the South African edition. She is also the first openly transgender person to have a wax figure of herself at Madame Tussauds.
Laverne’s Personal Life, Education and Career
Laverne Cox was born in Mobile, Alabama and raised by a single mother and her grandmother. In 2014, she opened up about being bullied as a child, and how after being called a sissy and the F-word, she attempted suicide at age 11. She has an identical twin brother, M Lamar, who portrayed the pre-transitioning Sophia (as Marcus) in Orange is the New Black. She is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts where she studied creative writing before switching to dance. The OITNB and Doubt’s transgender actor studied for two years at Indiana University Bloomington before transferring to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. There she switched from dancing (specifically classical ballet) to acting. During her first season on Orange Is the New Black, she was still performing as a drag queen.
Laverne’s Activism, Appearances and Awards
Laverne’s activism isn’t just relegated to magazine covers and awards shows. The transgender actor delivered a rousing commencement at Pitzer College, and also pushed for IMDB’s birth name policy to be changed, and she succeeded! She additionally received an honorary degree from New York City’s The New School in 2016 for her trailblazing work for the transgender community and her progressive work in the fight for gender equality. Laverne advocated for the trans actors in Pose, and even though she didn’t win the 2019 Emmy for her role of Burset in the Guest Actress category in the Drama Series OITNB, she was overjoyed that Billy Porter left the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles with the golden statue. Billy Porter has just become the first openly black gay man to win the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series. So, together with the TV series Pose, the last Emmy Award has made history.
Emmys 2019 – Laverne Cox’s Rainbow Purse and its Political Secret Message
The Orange Is the New Black’s transgender actor advocated for a USA Supreme Court decision with her custom Edie Parker clutch and brought a lawyer as her date. Laverne proudly showed her custom-made rainbow clutch with an exceptional message: “October 8, Title VII, Supreme Court”. To make the political point even clearer, she brought Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, along as her date. On 8 October, Strangio is arguing an antidiscrimination case in front of the court on behalf of a transgender client who was fired from her job after coming out as trans in 2013. Title VII refers to the part of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The Trump administration is seeking to legalise firing workers based on gender identity or presentation.
We were all glad to see that trans issues were a major topic of discussion elsewhere on the carpet. Pose’s transgender actor, Indya Moore, talked about Cox and the importance of having more queer people of colour on the red carpet at Strangio’s red-carpet walk. While Patricia Arquette continued the topic of the night when she stepped to the podium to accept her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a limited series for her role in The Act, she mentioned her sister, Alexis Arquette, who died in September 2016 of HIV-related cardiac arrest. It’s not the first time Patricia has used an acceptance speech to make a political statement. In 2017 she told Vanity Fair that she was upset that Alexis was not included in 2017 In Memoriam reel.