Laverne Cox: ‘Your attraction to me is not a reason to kill me’

The transgender model and LGBT+ activist Laverne Cox spoke out against the epidemic of violence against black transgender women in the US, saying: “Your attraction to me as a trans woman is not a reason to kill me.”

The Human Rights Campaign says at least eleven transgender people have been murdered in the US this year, with the latest identified as Brooklyn Lindsey on Sunday (June 30). Trans women of colour are disproportionately targeted by violence.

In an interview on the Buzzfeed News talkshow AM2DM, the “Orange is the New Black” star discussed the reasons behind this violence.

She said: “I think the people who are attacking trans women, what I say to men, is that your attraction to me is not a reason to kill me. There’s this whole myth that trans women are out there tricking people and deserve to be murdered, and that’s not the case.

“There’s been a market for trans women in the realms of dating and sex work for a very long time, we don’t have to trick anyone.”

In light of the growing violence against trans women, Cox was asked how she would like to hear people talk about transgender issues. She replied that she aims to address both the victories and continued adversities within the trans community.

“We have to lift the stigma around attraction to trans people, and we have to lift the stigma around trans people existing.”

“For a long time I was talking about this all the time and just felt I was existing in this space of death, constantly, and it was insanely depressing,” she said.

“And so I try to be in a ‘both and’ place, given the place of celebrating Indya Moore being on the cover of Elle magazine and Janet Mock having this landmark deal at Netflix, but then also acknowledging that, particularly for black trans women, their lives are being taken away from them simply for being who they are.”

She touched on systemic problems like homelessness, unemployment and lack of access to healthcare which make trans people more susceptible to violence, and said that these issues need to be dealt with too.

She added that cis women should have conversations with the men in their lives about trans people: “We have to lift the stigma around attraction to trans people, and we have to lift the stigma around trans people existing,” she said.

Iggy Azalea shares shocking statistics on violence against trans people

The Australian rapper Iggy Azalea also spoke out for transgender equality, taking the opportunity during her performance at Chicago Pride to raise awareness of the life expectancy for transgender women of colour – just 35 years old.

“To a lot of people, you guys are still invisible and you have to fight every day just to be who you are. That’s why we’ve gotta be here tonight because we gotta be loud as f**k. This shows you exist and you are valid,” she told the crowd.

She went on to share more statistics on the violence faced by the trans community, including the fact that 50 percent of trans people have been raped or sexually assaulted, and 41 percent of trans people have attempted suicide.