Laverne Cox has been a trailblazer for the trans community in Hollywood for years. But the actress recently shared that she has always felt some guilt for being a survivor when many of her trans brothers and sisters face violence.
“The month I was on the cover of Time magazine, five trans women were killed. So I felt a lot of survivor’s guilt,” she told The Cut in an interview.
Around one in four trans and genderqueer people will be assaulted in their lifetimes, and rates are even higher for trans women and trans people of color, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. In addition, 2018 is on its way to being the deadliest year on record for transgender killings.
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“I felt an obligation, so that year I said yes to a lot of things,” Cox added. “But there were a lot of folks who wanted to invalidate me, scapegoat me, and make me a representative of all trans people. I never purported to be that, and so I just had to be really careful about what I said and what I did.”
Photo by @Calligrafist
Cox shared similar feelings in her October cover story for Self magazine, including feeling remorseful for not doing “a lot of marches, and I have a lot of guilt about that.”
“I understand that I’ve been chosen. It makes me sad…it’s very intense,” she said earlier this month. “But as a black trans woman, me getting arrested is different. Trans people experience horrible sh-t in prison.”
“A straight white man can go get arrested; Black trans women can’t be in jail,” Cox continued. “The point of that is that I have to know that my contribution is going to be different from other people. Power is being clear about who you are.”
It sure is.