Laverne Cox Opens Up About Her Past Suicidal Thoughts In A Moving Note About Being Misgendered

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When a transgender person is identified by the name or gender that they no longer use, it’s called “deadnaming,” and according to non-profit news organization ProPublica, it’s happened 74 out of 85 times by law enforcement agencies in murder cases since 2015. Advocate and Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, the first trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy, is “angered, saddened, and enraged” that police in Jacksonville, where four black trans women have been shot in the past six months, and elsewhere continue to disrespect the “gender identities of trans folks when they have been murdered.”

In a post on Twitter, Cox opened up about her past suicidal thoughts and why she doesn’t tweet about the murders of trans individuals as much as she used to. “Many years ago when I was contemplating suicide, I was planning to have a note in my pocket at the time of my death and several other notes in my home which would state my name, preferred gender pronouns, and that I should be referred to as a woman in my death,” she wrote. “My note would be clear that I should be referred to as Laverne Cox only, not any other name. Being misgendered and deadnamed in my death felt like it would be the ultimate insult to the psychological and emotional injuries I was experiencing daily as a black trans woman in New York City, the injuries that made me want to take my own life.”

“I used to share a lot more on social media about the murders of trans folks. I don’t as much now because its retraumatizing for me to constantly live in this space of death, murder and the injustices that lead to these deaths. As I read this report from ProPublica, I sobbed and wept for all the trans people who have been murdered and those experiencing direct, cultural and structural violence. I wept because I haven’t been allowing myself to. I wept for all the violence I have experience in my own life.” (Via)

Cox recommends sharing the ProPublica article, but also joining a local trans rights organization. You can read the entire Twitter message below.