WATCH: Laverne Cox Schools Gayle King on Respect for Gender Identity
BY Rebecca Juro
August 05 2014 6:30 AM ET
You can always count on Laverne Cox to make sure that not only do the hosts she interacts with on television treat trans people respectfully, but that she’ll do it in a way that’s direct and classy. When Cox appeared on CBS This Morning recently, she gave host Gayle King a lesson in how to describe the pre-transition life of a trans woman.
When King said Cox had been “born a boy,” Cox interrupted and corrected her. "I was assigned male at birth is the way I like to put it, because I think we're born who we are and the gender thing is something someone imposes on you," she said. "And so I was assigned male at birth but I always felt like I was a girl."
This was not the first time Cox has felt the need to instruct a host on-air in proper respect for transgender bodies and identities. Several months ago, Cox appeared on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show and refused to answer questions about the state of her genitalia.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that,” Cox said to Couric after she tried to force the issue. “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.”
Cox is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy, with the nod coming for her performance as hairdresser Sophia Burset in the hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black. During her appearance on CBS This Morning, Cox discussed her nomination and her appearance on the cover of Time magazine as well as other projects she’s currently working on. Cox was also on the cover of the most recent issue of The Advocate.
Watch Cox’s appearances on CBS This Morning below: