Transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox slammed pro-life legislation and claimed that using the correct gender pronouns is a “matter of life and death” for people questioning their gender identity.
Addressing students at Pitzer College’s graduation ceremony in California, the Orange is the New Black star referenced the recent passing of a restrictive anti-abortion law in Alabama, a move that has enraged progressive campaigners.
“So, this week…we all know what happened in Alabama, that the most restrictive anti-abortion law was passed there this week,” Laverne Cox began, urging the crowd to “boo” the state’s new legislation.
The actor then explained that after retweeting the phrase “Women’s Body, Women’s Choice,” someone said the phrased effectively erases “trans brothers” from the abortion debate. It’s a reference to the biologically female women who have transitioned to men but also retain reproductive organs and become pregnant.
“They basically said that, you know, women and people who identify as women are not the only people who are affected by anti-abortion laws,” said Cox. “That people who identify as women are not the only people who get pregnant and — we can applaud for that. It’s the truth.”
“If I were that trans man, I would really want to have language that incorporated and included my experience,” Cox added. “Thinking about this reminded me that a language is also a place of struggle, but that this isn’t just about being politically correct.
The actor continued:
This is not just about virtue signaling, that when we use language that excludes people on pertinent issues it can jeopardize their health and well being. This is about language that is appropriate and fully inclusive is a matter of life and death for so many people out there.”
For me, as a trans woman, I can’t get pregnant. I’m very grateful for that! But it’s an issue that I don’t actually have to think about. But if we are the person who has to deal with the issue, it is so important to be inclusive and to have our issues dealt with.
Cox, who is biologically male, is Hollywood’s most high-profile campaigner on trans issues. Cox became the first openly transgender person to be featured on the cover of Time magazine and also be nominated for a Primetime Emmy award.