We all know that Laverne Cox is fabulous. But she’s also a pretty unusual celebrity.
She revealed her effortless intelligence in a recent interview with Katie Couric. In a now well-known episode, Cox gave Couric a polite but incisive lesson in how not to question transgender people. (In sum: the preoccupation with surgery is objectifying and invasive so quit it, stat.) So articulate was she that Couric, to her credit, did a follow-up admitting that Cox’s intervention had been a “teachable moment for me”. I think that’s another way of saying she was schooled.
Last night Laverne was back with another astounding performance, this time giving the keynote at Creating Change 2014. Her deep humility is striking. She resists using the movement as a platform for herself, instead she makes her new-found fame a platform for the movement. Over 30 minutes she name-checks a spectrum of individual trans-activists: Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, Monica Roberts, Candis Cayne, Ruby Corado, Jen Richards, Antonia D’orsay (and the Trans 100 list they began). As she put it, too often people only comfortably speak the names of trans-women when they are dead. Cox, and the people whose tireless, inspirational work she’s highlighting, aren’t going to let that be the reality a moment longer.
Watch the keynote here: