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

Outward
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.

Advertisement

*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. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.