Thanks in large part to her breakout performance in the Netflix original Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox has become one of the most visible trans actresses working today. She’s been using her now elevated platform to shed light on issues regarding race, class and trans people.
[Image credit: Netflix, via Salon]
For her next project, Free CeCe, Cox will delve into the case of Cece McDonald. McDonald was a victim of trans-bashing back in 2011 who fought back against her attackers. Unfortunately, one of her attackers died of injuries McDonald inflicted on him in self-defence, and she was sentenced to 41 years in a men’s correctional facility for manslaughter.
In an interview with Persephone Magazine, Cox and her co-producer on the project, Jacqueline Gares, discussed the case and how anti-LGBT violence disproportionately affects trans people and people of colour. Cox told Persephone that “CeCe’s story in so many ways encapsulates the intersectional issues that lead to far too many of us experiencing violence. I wanted to do a piece that explores the nature of how race, class and gender affect violence towards trans women and also give CeCe a space to tell her story in her words in the context of a piece that truly values the lives of trans women of color."
And as Gares points out, the statistics behind 2012’s list of anti-LGBT murders show just how much violence is levelled against trans women of colour: “53.8% of homicide victims in 2012 were transgender women and 73.1% were people of color.” Gares also praised Cox, saying that she “is amazing not only because she is a great actress on a hit show that forces audiences to engage with trans issues and incarceration, but also because she is such a strong advocate and can intellectually grapple with these statistics."
If you’re interested in supporting Free CeCe, or McDonald herself, go to Support CeCe.