Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox Talks Trans History

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Sept. 12 2013 4:09 PM

Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox Talks Trans History

Laverne Cox and W. Kamau Bell on the Sept. 11, 2013 Totally Biased
Laverne Cox and W. Kamau Bell on the Sept. 11, 2013,Totally Biased

Photo byJeffrey Neira/FXX Network

Laverne Cox was one of the breakout stars of Orange Is the New Black, which was itself the breakout small-screen hit of the summer. As Sophia Burset, the former firefighter who gave “five years, $80,000, and my freedom” to inhabit the female body she always knew she belonged in, Cox brings humor, gravitas, and realness.

Last night in a knockout segment on FXX’s Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, Cox thanked the trans women who made her success possible—Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson,* who were at Stonewall, and Candis Cayne, the trans actress who made history with her role in Dirty, Sexy Money. At one point, Bell says, “I feel like you gave me just a whole list of names to go home and Google.” First Bell. Then America.

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*Correction, Sept. 13, 2013: This post originally misspelled Marsha P. Johnson's forename.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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