Laverne Cox 'deeply moved' by reaction to controversial Katie Couric interview

The "Orange is the New Black" actress said she's grateful that Katie Couric's show gave her the opportunity to "highlight the deep humanity of trans people’s lives in the media."
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Jan. 9, 2014 at 9:06 PM
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Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Katie Couric's Monday interview with transgender model Carmen Carrera and transgender Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox touched off a round of criticism from viewers who felt that the talk show host asked "invasive" and "sensationalist" questions about genitals and sex changes.

Critics were particularly frustrated with the show's interest in Carrera's surgery and "private parts," but praised both guests' refusal to fall prey to certain lines of questioning. Cox, for example, responded to one of Couric's questions about surgery with a condemnation of public "preoccupation" with the issue.

I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.

Cox, who plays incarcerated trans woman Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix series, took to social media after the interview to join the discussion.

"So grateful my appearance on @KatieShow yesterday with @carmen_carrera has sparked such needed dialogue about the issues trans folks face," Cox tweeted Tuesday.

She also issued a lengthier statement on the topic via her Tumblr page, writing that the "dialogues" prompted by her appearance on the show had "deeply moved" her.

"It is my dream that by highlighting the deep humanity of trans people’s lives in the media, elevating actual trans voices to speak the truth of our lived experiences in ways that don’t sensationalize and objectify us, those human voices and stories can be a part of the disruption needed to end the disproportionate injustices that threaten so many trans people’s lives, particularly the lives of trans women of color," Cox wrote.

"It is a state of emergency for far too many trans people across this country. The stories of women like Islan Nettles and CeCe McDonald are far too commonplace in our community. I look forward to engaging in more dialogues about the complicated intersectional issues around these injustices and ways to make them a thing of the past," she continued. "I am so grateful to Katie Couric and her show for the opportunity to highlight these important issues."

You can watch the segment below:

[Slate, Buzzfeed, The Advocate, Salon]

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