Entertainment

After Transphobic Attack, Laverne Cox Speaks Out, Says It’s Not Safe To Be Trans No Matter Where Or Who You Are

In a gut wrenching Instagram video, Laverne Cox admits something that few of us like to acknowledge: that no matter where or who you are, the world is a dangerous place for transgendered people.

The Instagram post came just days after Cox and a friend were physically attacked while walking in an LA neighborhood. And despite Cox being a popular and well-known figure in the entertainment industry (she’s a major star of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black) and in the LGBTQ community, Cox admits that she’s often afraid for her safety.

Unfortunately, the data backs her up with transgendered individuals being among the most targeted groups for bullying, hate crimes, and even anti-trans legislation.

Laverne Cox and a friend were targeted in a transphobic attack. in Los Angeles.

Transgender people face danger every day, even if they’re famous. And this past weekend, Laverne Cox was the victim of a transphobic attack in Los Angeles. The Orange Is the New Black star opened up about the incident in an Instagram video, telling fans that she is fine but still “in shock” and “super triggered” from the attack that happened over the weekend.

According to Cox, as she and a friend were walking through Griffith Park in Los Angeles, a man approached them to ask what time it was. “The friend who I’m with looks at his watch and tells him the time,” Cox recalled, “and then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend, ‘Guy or girl?'”

The friend, whom Cox wished to keep anonymous, told the man to “fuck off” and was then attacked by the man.

“I’m kind of in shock,” Cox said in the Instagram video. “I’m walking, I’m hearing all of this is happening like in a split second and then all of a sudden the guy is attacking my friend.”

“I pull out my phone and call 911 … All of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone. I put my phone away and I’m like: ‘What just happened?’”

After processing the attack, Cox said she and her friend agreed that he was being aggressive and was trying to figure out whether or not Cox was transgender. “I don’t know why it matters,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s like, who cares? I’m in a hoodie and yoga pants, I’m completely covered up, I’ve got my mask on — who cares if I’m trans? How does this affect your life?”

Sadly – though not surprisingly – this was not the first time Cox has experienced this sort of hatred.

Over the years, the actor has been vocal about how she’s been subject to bullying and transphobia-fueled attacks, especially while she was in school. During a 2014 ABC special, she revealed that she was treated so poorly that she attempted suicide due to shame about her identity. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was having all these feelings about other boys,” she said. “And I didn’t want to live.”

She told her followers that, “I have a long history of harassment. It’s not safe in the world and I don’t like to think about that a lot but it is the truth. It’s the truth, you’re not safe if you are a trans person. Obviously, I know this well.”

This year Cox released Disclosure, a Netflix documentary on trans representation. The documentary criticised Hollywood’s history of transgender stereotypes and tropes. “We need more trans folks working behind the scenes – directing, producing, below the line positions, just more,” she told the Guardian in June. “And more representation in positions of power.”

Trans people across the country suffer from staggering rates of abuse and hatred.

Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

According to the National Center of Transgender Equality, at least 28 transgender and non-binary people were murdered, or were suspected to have been murdered, in just the first seven months of 2020 alone, a number that already surpasses the total for all of 2019 and shows how much danger trans people face daily.

In her video, Cox said that she was still stunned by the incident, but emphasized that this type of harassment is not the fault of trans people. “It doesn’t matter who you are — if you’re trans, you’re going to experience stuff like this,” she said. “It’s not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world. We have a right to walk in the park.”

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Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Things That Matter

Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Argentina has long been a progressive bastion in Latin America. It was one of the first countries in the region to allow same-sex marriage and also has anti-discrimination laws in many cities. It’s also been a beacon of hope for the transgender community, with the government long allowing individuals to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex.

However, transgender workers still face immense discrimination and that has left a reported 95% of the community without formal employment. To help try and address this issue, the nation’s leaders have instituted a program to ensure that at least 1% of the workforce is made up of trans workers. It’s an ambitious task but the government is already making progress.

Argentina launched a program to ensure better transgender representation in the workforce.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández signed a decree in September establishing a 1 percent employment quota for transgender people in the public sector. The law went into effect on January 1 and its aim is to bring more trans workers into the formal economy.

According to Argentina’s LGBTQ community, 95 percent of transgender people do not have formal employment, with many forced to work in the sex industry where they face violence.

“If all the institutions implemented the trans quota, it would change a lot for many of my colleagues. It would change the quality of their lives and they would not die at 34, or 40, which is their life expectancy today,” Angeles Rojas, who recently landed a job at a national bank, told NBC News.

There are no official figures on the size of the transgender community in Argentina, since it was not included in the last 2010 census. But LGBTQ organizations estimate there are 12,000 to 13,000 transgender adults in Argentina, which has a population topping 44 million.

Few countries in the world are stepping up to help trans workers quite like Argentina.

Argentina has long prided itself on its progressive policies. The nation was one of the first in the Americas to recognize same-sex unions and several cities have anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community.

In 2012, Argentina adopted an unprecedented gender identity law allowing transgender people to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex. The law also guarantees free access to sex-reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments without prior legal or medical consent.

Worldwide, only neighboring Uruguay has a comparable quota law promoting the labor inclusion of transgender people. And a law such as this one has the potential to greatly impact the lives of transgendered Argentinians.

Despite the program, transgender people still face enormous challenges in Argentina.

A recent report by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People published in December said “the vast majority of trans women in the region have sex work as their sole economic and subsistence livelihood.”

It goes on to say: In Latin America and the Caribbean transgender people have their right to work violated along with all their human rights, and this takes place “in a context of extreme violence.”

Despite legal protections, Argentina’s trans community remains at risk. Many of the country’s trans citizens live in the Gondolín, a building in the Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood, for protection and strength in numbers.

There have been advances in Argentina. This year, Diana Zurco became the first transgender presenter of Argentine television news, Mara Gómez was authorized by the Argentine Football Association to play in the professional women’s league and soprano María Castillo de Lima was the first transgender artist to go on stage at Teatro Colón.

However, the gap between the equality established by law and the real one remains large, warned Ese Montenegro, a male transgender activist hired as an adviser to the Chamber of Deputies’ women’s and diversity commission.

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JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Entertainment

JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

JK Rowling might have written pages upon pages about education and lessons learned but she’s clearly not a quick study. Or at least taking her own advice.

The multi-millionaire author behind the beloved Harry Potter series earned the ire of fans earlier this year after speaking out against the trans community and underlining her own transphobia. Still, despite an onslaught of criticism and backlash, she’s decided to speak out once again. In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Rowling underlined her opinions once again about the trans community.

Speaking to the magazine for its January issue, Rowling conflated cancel culture and a lack of tolerance for hate.

In the interview with Good Housekeeping, Rowling spoke of a “climate of fear” around conversations about transgender identity. Particularly when it comes to what Rowling described as “a more nuanced conversation” concerning the “huge increase” in the number of people seeking to transition.

“I’ve had a huge postbag since speaking up on this issue and more than 90 per cent of the letters and emails have been supportive,” Rowling claimed. “My correspondence have included medical staff, social workers, prison workers, workers in women’s refuges, and members of the LGBT community, including trans people.”

If Rowling’s claim causes your brow to raise it should. Particularly because detransition, or a reversal of a transgender identification or gender transition, has been shown to be more common in the earlier stages of a person’s transition, particularly before surgeries. Moreover, research analysis conducted from 2016 and 2017 found that of 3,398 trans patients who had appointments at an NHS Gender Identity Service less than one percent said that they had experienced “transitioned-related regret, or had detransitioned.”

In June, J.K. Rowling, the author who taught us as young readers the importance of love, light, and acceptance with her Harry Potter series stomped out all of the magic like a troll bursting into a dungeon. That’s right, in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide protests for racial justice, J.K. Rowling decided to use her global platform to tout her transphobic views to the 14.5 million Twitter users who follow her.

The writer has made various problematic comments about trans people in the past and her latest sound-off is confirmation that this whole time the author has been Dolores Umbridge in sheep’s clothing.

Just when you thought she couldn’t get worse, Rowling apparently decided to create a Horcrux and put a part of her soul in her newest novel: “Troubled Blood.”

In recent years, Rowling has soiled her reputation as one of the most beloved authors of all time by hawking negative views of trans people. In her latest book, she keeps it up.

Troubled Blood is Rowling’s fifth and latest book in her Cormoran Strike mystery series which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Non surprisingly it debuted on selves on September 15 to incensed reviews. According to a review published in the Telegraph, the book follows the disappearance of a woman who is believed to be a victim of “a transvestite serial killer.” The review underlines that the moral of the book is “never trust a man in a dress.”

Soon after the Telegraph’s review was published a Twitter storm attached to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling began. One user tweeted that Rowling had employed “deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care — this is deliberate. It’s gross.”

Daniel Radcliffe, the face behind the titular characters in the Harry Potter films, has stepped up in the past as the Chosen One in a fight against the currently canceled author who built his career.

Fortunately, Radcliffe joined his fellow Dumbledore’s Army alums Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger in The Cursed Child) in speaking out against Rowling’s recent transphobic comments and showing solidarity with the trans community.

In June Rowling’s name became trending on Twitter after she mocked a headline about “people who menstruate.”

The author posted an article about creating equality for “people who menstruate” amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The article, which was posted by Devex, had a headline that read “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Addressing the article, Rowling tweeted “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Users on Twitter were quick to slam Rowling for her ignorant tweet highlighting how her words were harmful to trans men and women but also to cisgender women who do not menstruate. As a reminder, not all cisgender women have periods: some have hysterectomies, in old age, we also go through menopause.

In response to her comments, Radcliff underlined in a letter for The Trevor Project that he wanted to speak out because of his work for the trans community.

Speaking about trans women Radcliff wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Radcliffe isn’t the only one who has spoken out against Rowling’s harmful words. Eddie Redmayne, the lead actor in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, also spoke out against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets.

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement to Variety. “This is an ongoing process… As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

In a tweet posted to her account, Dumezweni shared a tweet listing a series of prominent transgender women.

No doubt, Rowling’s words proved to be extremely upsetting for fans of Rowling who found her stories to be a light in their darkness.

“I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended,” one user wrote. “For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”

Many were quick to slam Rowling, letting her know that her message of exclusionary language makes the lives of trans people more difficult.

“You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve?” Singer-songwriter Mary Lambert tweeted. “Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?”

GLAAD also condemned Rowling’s comments and “for targeting trans people”

“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the organization wrote. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”

No surprise, Rowling’s response to critics was just about as pathetic as any apology from her would be at this point. In a subsequent Twitter thread, she wrote that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

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