Laverne Cox urges lawmakers to use transgender people ‘like political football’

Laverne Cox doesn’t hold back when it comes to the disturbing wave anti-transgender legislation it swept across the US

Actor, writer and LGBTQ rights activist sat down with MNBCX Jonathan Capehart for the upcoming special “Pride of the Stage and Screen”. While the program focuses on queer representatives in Hollywood and on Broadway, the conversation takes a sharp turn when Capehart asks what Cox thinks about laws that restrict transgender women and girls from participation in women’s school sports teams.

“It’s devastating for me as a transgender,” the Orange Is the New Black star said. “It is devastating for a person who traveled the country and met transgender children. … I think what’s important to understand about this point is that I don’t think these legislators suddenly care about women’s sports.”

“Trans people are being used like political football,” she continued. “Many people still do not understand and are not fully aware of the humanity of transgender people, so we are mainly used as political football by conservative politicians. But, unfortunately, this policy has real consequences for trans youth and their parents.”

Republican legislatures in at least 18 states imposed restrictions on the participation of transgender people in sports in public schools. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Democrat, expressed disapproval after his state adopted such a ban earlier this month, but said any veto from him would be useless against the GOP-controlled state legislature.

Cox, who has just landed a well-received role in Netflix’s Inventing Anna, is one of several stars set to appear in Pride of the Stage and Screen. Sunday’s special will also feature interviews with the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. Michael R. Jackson and actor Jacquel Spivey popular Broadway musicalstrange loop“, “Among others.

"strange loop" playwright Michael R. Jackson (left) and actor Jacquel Spivey.
Strange Loop playwright Michael R. Jackson (left) and actor Jacquel Spivey.

Bruce Glickas via Getty Images

Speaking to HuffPost, Capehart called Cox a natural choice for the program, given her deep work as an artist and longtime commitment to LGBTQ rights.

“Representation really matters,” he said. “It’s not just about showing the nation that we’re here. It’s about potentially giving a lifeline to a young LGBT child who is wondering if they are alone in this world.”

Noting that he hopes viewers will feel “proud and inspired” after the setting, he added, “If we share these stories, our collective LGBTQ history will not be erased despite the best efforts of some far-right conservatives.” The achievements of the people in ‘Pride of the Stage and Screen’ demonstrate that the lies told about us are not true.”

“Pride of Stage and Screen” airs Sunday at 10:00 pm EST. on MSNBC.