Laverne Cox is ‘hopeful’ Joe Biden will live up to his promises and make life better for trans people

Laverne Cox has said she is “hopeful” that Joe Biden will follow through on his promises to make trans people’s lives better.

The actress and transgender rights campaigner responded after Biden became the first president-elect in US history to mention transgender people in his acceptance speech.

Celebrating his campaign victory earlier this month, Biden had said: “I’m proud of the campaign we built. I’m proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history. Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.”

Joe Biden needs to back up words by delivering policies, Laverne Cox says.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Laverne Cox said that she is “hopeful” that Biden will be a force for change on trans issues, having already pledged to undo the Trump administration’s ban on trans people in the military and unpick a stream of anti-trans policies.

Cox said: “It’s exciting to hear the word transgender uttered but then for me, the question becomes what are we going to do to back it up with policy.

“When it comes to politics, I’m intersectional. I am part of the trans community. I am a person of colour. I am a woman who is interested in economic justice for poor and working-class people.

“I’m also someone who is interested in everyone having access to healthcare. So, I’m hopeful and excited that the incoming administration has made a commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, but I’m also hopeful that there will be policies to support everyone who is marginalised in this country.”

Laverne Cox attends BuzzFeed's AM To DM on October 07, 2019 in New York City.

Laverne Cox attends BuzzFeed’s AM To DM on October 07, 2019 in New York City. (Dominik Bindl/Getty)

Biden published an extensive LGBT+ rights policy platform ahead of the election making a series of progressive pledges, but campaigners fear his ability to push through reforms could be stymied without control of the Senate.

LGBT+ rights progress could hinge on key election in Georgia.

Power in the chamber will hinge on a double-election in Georgia in January, with the best-case scenario for Biden resulting in a 50-50 split in the chamber that would require measures to attract support from every single Democratic senator. If Republicans win the Georgia seats, they would maintain control of the chamber and could continue to effectively block equal rights bills, limiting Biden’s ability for change to executive action and rendering much of his LGBT+ action plan unenforceable.

Cox also noted the legacy of the Obama administration.

She said: “When I think about presidents, specifically, who have uttered the word transgender, I think it was Barack Obama who became the first sitting president to do so. It was a really big deal.

“Obviously, the Obama administration also had specific policies in place to protect us. I get chills every time I think about Loretta Lynch, Obama’s attorney general, who in 2016 after North Carolina’s crazy anti-trans bathroom bill, she gave a press conference and announced that the Obama administration would sue the state of North Carolina for their discriminatory law.

“She basically said, ‘We see you, we hear you, and we’ll do everything we can to protect you.’ It was just such a monumental moment.”