Laverne Cox makes powerful statement about trans rights on Emmys red carpet

Trans actress and activist Laverne Cox used her moment on the Emmys red carpet to shine a spotlight on a big issue affecting the transgender community.

Cox was nominated in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category for the final season of Orange is the New Black, but she said she was there for a “bigger reason”.

The transgender star carried a rainbow clutch she designed herself, printed with the words: “Oct. 8, Title VII, Supreme Court.”

It was a clear reference to an upcoming Supreme Court case that will decide if anti-LGBT+ employment discrimination qualifies as discrimination.

Cox brought trans rights to the Emmys red carpet (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Cox told E! News: “When I got my Emmy nomination this year, my third one, I was like this is weird. I thought, there has to be a bigger reason and I thought, OK, maybe it’s about this case and maybe its about raising awareness so that everyone knows our lives are in danger.

“And a lot of people aren’t talking about this case and it has implications for the LGBTQ community, but it has implications for women and anyone who doesn’t conform to someone else’s idea of like how you should be a man or a woman or both or neither,” she added.

Cox hopes her Emmy nomination will lead more people to educate themselves on the case’s implications.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the law that prohibits sex-based discrimination, is one of the few US federal laws that has been interpreted as protecting LGBT+ people.

As Republicans in Congress have long blocked efforts to pass a specific LGBT+ anti-discrimination measure, a ruling against Title VII would leave little federal protection for LGBT+ people facing discrimination at work in the 30 US states with no state-level discrimination protections.

Cox’s guest at the event was lawyer and activist Chase Strangio, who is arguing an anti-discrimination case on behalf of a woman who was fired from her job after coming out as trans in 2013.

Laverne Cox with her date, the lawyer and activist Chase Strangio (John Shearer/Getty)

Referring to the Title VII Supreme Court case, he said: “This is actually going to transform the lives of LGBTQ people, and people who are not LGBTQ.

“Anyone who departs from sex stereotypes, like all the fabulous people here, for example. So we really need to show up October 8 and pay attention. Their lives are on the line.”

Cox is known for breaking barriers for transgender people, particularly on the Emmys red carpet.

In 2014 she made history to become the first openly transgender person ever to be nominated for an Emmy. And in 2015, her documentary The T Word was the first trans documentary to win a Daytime Emmy.

At the 2019 awards ceremony, Cox wore a jaw-dropping Monsoori gown with a shoulder ruffle and layered tulle skirt. On the other side of her clutch was the message #TRANSISBEAUTIFUL with the trans flag.