Laverne Cox addresses overwhelming number of anti-trans bills in US ‘criminalising our existence’

Laverne Cox smiles while wearing a blue dress at the Golden Globe Awards.

More than 120 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed in the US in 2023 so far – and Laverne Cox simply isn’t having it.

The trans actress made a powerful statement about the freedom of bodily autonomy during a Thursday (19 January) broadcast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe where she slammed anti-trans lawmakers.

“I exist. There’s no trans question, I am not a question,” she said.

“I exist here, I have material reality, lived experiences, and trans people have always existed. We’re not going to stop existing.”

She spoke about the overwhelming number of bills targeting trans youth and their ability to access gender-affirming care – an issue often used as an excuse to push back the rights of trans people.

Several transphobic pundits have claimed that trans youth are making “irreversible decisions” by accessing hormones and surgeries.

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This is not true – in the US and the UK, trans youth are administered physically reversible puberty blockers and are not permitted to undergo surgery until reaching a legally set age.

“There’s a lot of pundits and politicians that say, ‘gender-affirming care for children, that’s something we should debate’ and I would actually disagree. I would say it’s none of your business.

“If you are a parent with a trans child, it is your business. If you’re not, it’s none of your business,” she added.

“What adults do with their bodies is none of your business. This is America, it should be about freedom.”

Her words have given hope to many trans and non-binary Americans who have felt the wave of anti-trans bills proposed across the country in less than a month.

MSNBC reported that there had been at least 120 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in 2023 so far.

It found that, across the 22 states that have filed these outlandish laws, Texas currently holds the top spot with a worrying 36 bills attempting to take away the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

A majority of these take aim at transgender women in sporting competitions, while others restrict access to gender-affirming care and attempt to prevent LGBTQ+ discussion in schools.

One, suggested in Arkansas, even proposes to ban performances in public areas by those “exhibiting a gender identity other than assigned at birth.”

While lawmakers seemingly wrote the bill to target drag performances, which have also been under immense scrutiny, its implications could affect trans people’s ability to perform in any capacity.

Activist Erin Reed said many of the anti-drag bans being pushed by Republican lawmakers “increasingly target trans people as well,” while demanding for these “extreme” bills to end.

“Some might argue that these bills have no chance of passing, or that they will be struck down as unconstitutional,” she wrote in a piece detailing an anti-trans bill.

“I want to emphasize that this isn’t just a single Republican proposing it – several bills like it have been proposed all over the country.”