20 of the Best Things Laverne Cox Said at SU


IMG_5286 Syracuse University was graced with the presence of the one and only Laverne Cox tonight. You know — the actress, TV star/producer, and outspoken LGBT advocate who was the first transgender woman to receive an Emmy nomination (for her role as Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black) and to appear on the cover of Time magazine.

Cox gave a keynote speech entitled “Ain’t I A Woman?” in honor of the LGBT Resource Center’s Coming Out Month. She effortlessly listed off numerous stats on the issues faced by those with marginalized identities and brilliantly referenced feminist theorists like bell hooks and Judith Butler. Cox spoke about her coming out process, dealing with shame, the need for more transgender equality, and even opened the floor to a lengthy Q&A session.

She made us laugh. She made us think. She made us want to work toward a better and more supportive community. Below are some of our favorite quotes from the night.

1. "I stand before you tonight, a proud African American transgender woman."

2. "It is a state of emergency for far too many trans people across this nation."

3. "I’m not going to reveal my breasts tonight. Sorry to disappoint."

4. "Her words were like oxygen to me. I came to critical consciousness reading her work." [referring to bell hooks]

5. "We know girls act all sorts of ways, right?"

6. "We have to begin spaces of gender self determination for everyone. So everyone can define gender for themselves on their own terms."

7. "We know that the lived experiences of our lives defy that binary model."

8. "As long as we live in a culture where people have to prove their manhood or womanhood, we are not living in a culture where people are free to express their gender."

9. "There are sirens out there... it’s the gender police." [when ambulance sirens were heard outside]

10. "I loved to dance as a kid… and I was pretty good at it if I do say so myself."

11. "At the end of the day what's wrong with a little kid wanting to be Scarlett O’Hara and fan herself?"

12. "I was the public speaking champion in eighth grade — county wide. Still proud of that."

13. "Polyester leopard print bell bottoms were quite the hit in homeroom."

14. "Salvation Army couture — Salvation Armani, if you will."

15. "If we just get to know people who are different than us as people, all the misconceptions will melt away."

16. "It's okay if I don't blend in. It's okay if people know I'm transgender. Because being transgender is beautiful."

17. "Calling a transgender woman a man is an act of violence."

18. "There should be some accountability when a young life is taken away from us."

19. "It feels unsafe when I get catcalled because it feels like men are trying to take possession of my body in this public space. It feels objectifying. It feels mysogynistic."

20. "Pronouns matter, by the way, when we talk with and about trans people."

CultureLaura CohenComment