Yesterday, actress Laverne Cox appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos to discuss Orange is the New Black, the state of trans rights in America, and the impact discrimination and harassment had on her growing up. During her interview with ABC's Byron Pitts, Cox spoke candidly about these issues, and opened up about her own suicide attempt when she was in the sixth grade.
"I was bullied and I internalized a lot of shame about who I was as a child,” Cox said. “Bullied because I didn’t act the way someone assigned male at birth was supposed to act. And so I was called sissy, I was called the f-word. I was chased home from school practically every day. There was always a kid or groups of kids who wanted to beat me up.”
While discussing her Emmy-nominated role as Sophia Burset on Netflix's Orange is the New Black, Cox spoke about the impact she hopes her portrayal has had on trans individuals. "So many trans folks have said that they see themselves reflected in this character," she said. "Having your story told validates your experience. It’s like, ‘I’m not alone anymore, and maybe I’ll be OK.'”
The ABC segment also caught up with National Center for Transgender Equality's executive director Mara Keisling, asking her about advances, setbacks, and obstacles to overcome on the road to transgender equality.
"Too often transgender people are accused of being something other than what they say they are," Keisling told ABC of the challenges transgender individuals may face. "Too often, we are questioned about our 'real' name or our 'real' gender. The core of the mistreatment, harassment, and violence facing transgender people stems from this fundamental theme in the way the public doubts and denies us our true selves."
Watch Laverne Cox's appearance on This Week below.