Laverne Cox praises ‘divine’ trans kids in powerful speech at GLAAD Media Awards

Laverne Cox praises 'divine' trans kids as Disclosure wins a GLAAD Award

Laverne Cox has spoken to trans children, saying they are “divine” and “here for a reason” in a powerful winners speech at the GLAAD Media Awards.

Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen won Outstanding Documentary at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which recognise and honour media for positive representations of LGBT+ people.

The documentary, executive produced by Cox and directed by trans filmmaker Sam Feder, was released as a Netflix original in June 2020 and has been widely critically acclaimed for its unflinching analysis of Hollywood’s portrayal of trans people.

Speaking at the virtual ceremony, Cox said that trans youth are “anointed” and said that “despite all the attacks that are happening against you, you are divine, you deserve to be here, and you are here for a reason”.

She added: “You must survive to fulfil that divine purpose.”

Laverne Cox also said that Disclosure was part of a movement aiming to go beyond acceptance of trans lives.

She said: “We are looking for people to move beyond acceptance to radical acceptance, to radical self love.”

Going back over 100 years of movies, Disclosure shows how badly trans people have been represented: as grotesque, freakish, frightening. The stories told about trans people – exclusively by cis directors – have generated mistrust and misunderstanding about what it means to be trans.

One way in which Hollywood has perpetuated dangerous myths about trans people is the tendency to cast actors of the wrong gender into trans roles – cis men playing trans women, mostly, though we also see this with Hilary Swank playing a trans man in Boys Don’t Cry.

The creators of Disclosure have helped to change this, notably intervening last summer when Halle Berry announced she’d be playing a trans man in an upcoming film – to swift, fierce backlash.

“Our team got in touch with hers and encouraged her to look at Disclosure and understand the ramifications of casting,” Disclosure producer Amy Scholder told PinkNews last December. “And within 48 hours she backed out of that role, and appreciated the opportunity to think about it differently.”

She continued: “We loved that, not only because it changed her mind and gave, hopefully, that acting opportunity to a trans actor, but also that it really showed that cancel culture is not the answer, or the only means of effecting change. You can have dialogue. We love Halle Berry and what she’s done in the industry, and she didn’t know and she was curious and interested, and that experience was really meaningful to us.”