Laverne Cox says she was "shocked" by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that it is illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII federal civil rights law, but reminded everyone there is still work to be done to correct preconceived notions about the LGBT community.
The Supreme Court's decision on Monday is the most significant affirmation of LGBT rights in the United States since the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage and the court's first decision addressing transgender civil rights.
Cox was there in October to hear arguments in three cases involving individuals who say they were fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. On Thursday, Cox opened up to "The View" about her reaction to the decision.
"I was shocked, to be perfectly honest. I was completely and utterly shocked," Cox said.
Cox said she was "not optimistic" about the outcome of the case because of the court's "very conservative makeup."
"It's a really beautiful thing that in the United States of America, we can affirm once more that it should be illegal to fire someone from their job simply for being who they are," she continued. "It is a landmark moment for the LGBTQI+ community and specifically for trans folks."
"I would like to remind people that just because we have policies in place that protect folks, it doesn't necessarily mean that the hearts and minds of our citizens are changed," Cox added. "Public policy doesn't change hearts and minds. We have to do that work within ourselves and within our communities, with our friends and families and in the media."
Cox referred to the ongoing protests against police brutality to offer advice on how to have these difficult conversations about race and bias.
"So much of what is going on in the country is that we are operating from a place of fight, flight or freeze," Cox said. "When we are in the woods and we see a bear, we are programmed to fight that bear, flee that bear or to freeze."
"I think so often when folks feel called out and feel accused of being racist or transphobic, they go into that fight, flight or freeze response. All of a sudden, we're on defense. We just are in survival mode and we're not in a place where we can ... fully hear each other," she said.
"We have to create safe space so that each human being feel[s] in their nervous systems that they are safe so that we can have conversations with love and empathy," Cox added.
"I'm not a fan of cancel culture. I'm a fan of giving people space to feel safe so they can take risks and make mistakes and be transformed," she said. "We can't be transformed if we're constantly feeling in fight, flight or freeze, in survival mode or defense mode."
The Supreme Court's decision earlier this week was followed Thursday by its decision to block President Donald Trump's bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Following the ruling, Trump posted a flurry of tweets seemingly criticizing the decision, including one in which he questioned, "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?"
"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives," he said in another tweet. "We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!"
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