Laverne Cox on how she has paved the way for the next generation

The barrier-breaking actress shares her life and experience as a trans woman in Hollywood.
12:41 | 06/11/21

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Transcript for Laverne Cox on how she has paved the way for the next generation
And we're back now on Fries with a soulful and inspiring conversation with one of America's most dazzling leading ladies Laverne Cox. I have to say I was so moved by her grace and her intellect when Laverne and I had a chance to have a conversation earlier this week. Palin burned so good to see you know. Waldo hello I'm thinking I'm very well you know. We all know you're not just acclaimed actors but your rest thought leader when it comes to trans rights and soaked. There's so much I want to talk to you about when it comes to trans rights and representation but I begin with you. And with pride. An and how much pride surrounds you tell me. After all the success of Orange is the new black how many doors were open for you and and what doors to view opened for others. When I think about nowhere. Extended gains and as proud out right now it's that I've managed to statement itself is much as possible but I think I'm even more myself. Through all of the wonderful. On the things that had a than past seven years and also. Really really out that there are some any chance people working in Hollywood right now we're gracing the covers of magazines. I hate that makes me really really proud. And I am aware that you know. With in the cover of time magazine in 2014 at. As a bridge opening ten prisoner be on the cover of that magazine and many other magazines and now winds. So beautiful and what I'm so proud of the not. And that is. Really joy in just open a store she. Emotionally financially and how close you were tipped quitting acting. Just before being cast in or just a new black clearly it wasn't easy for trans actors and actresses to make it in Hollywood. Now it's. Uneasy in the face the reality is this kid is this a really hard business no matter who you lie. I'm in in 2012. I turned forty. And I ate my life ladies you know I I was in lot of debt I was I am on a payment plan to avoid eviction. In my apartment and I was like okay well you've given it. The old college try a new word tried really hard you train but may be is actually being there for you wouldn't she go into something out since I was going to go to grad school Esther stating for the GRE. And the orange and black addition happened and I did not go to grad school hope. And now. Frances paid until wonder think now it's a wonder. But you talked about how often you what we're made to play in a sex worker number seven and on so many cop shows and I remember interviewing India Anwar and they told me that. They didn't want to play the sex worker trans stared at initially when post was offered. But that now you know 21 trans characters are represented on shows however were losing so many without finale opposed. Why you think shows like post it's so important for you and others to be represented in these story lines. Who people need to see themselves in an hour documentary disclosed there. That's available on Netflix so sweet and many people and who we interviewed talked about how important ways. And is to see ourselves represented and know that you know it's possible. You know I am well aware that if I if anything Kenneth Cain underneath its money in 2007 I wouldn't have believed. It was possible to be open each hands in a working actor and that we have to be able to see ourselves as stories reflected landed big things they think about would pose this how. Honest they were in their conversations about HIV aids and how it decimated LG BT QY class communities. In the eighty's and ninety's. Also still so fresh and current even though it's set in the eighty's and ninety's that so much of what's happening right now in politics in the culture wars centers on trans rights we've looked at 250. Different. Anti LG BTQ. Bills out there at least. Half of them roughly a 120 bills directly targeting transgender people. What do you think these bills say about the issues still facing the trans community. Well. With increased visibility. We are more targeted entry and people haven't had never been as visible. And what we're witnessing. Legislatively is the backlash to eye visibility and the state of Arkansas. Bill recently became lie. It'll be implemented in July that would criminalize and health care providers providing tender affirming care for transgender youth in a state of Arkansas. It's deeply disturbing when I think about the trans kids there who might lose their care if the ACLU's loss he does not successful so I think. Is this assault. How is legislative assault happens is and violence increases against him spokes 20/20 with the dailies young America for trans people I work for anyone who think estate and Aaron must hands people is about lifting up the beautiful humanity of trans people. Telling stories that that celebrate. Our struggles and our success days and our humanity in not reducing to all of the sort of statements and propaganda bad bad things have perpetuated back perpetuated about Leah. And what do you think. Everyday folks continued to help make. The world a bit safer for transpose she talked about. You know the violence against trans people especially trans women of color we did a segment called trans and targeted which. Got recognized with a cloud award and also you recently spoke out about the disappointment of seeing the media's coverage of some trans health care issues. So what Nina what can politicians and everyday citizens due to do battered tech understand better except frame that narrative better. We'll inside. Media goes that that we it's. Always important to have trans spokes. In the room when decisions are being made in into the thin it is chance people may have been there. Not just had chains that clear exit of co sign what we already wanting to open re actually listen to dance and make every day people. If you're inspired can have conversations with the folks in your lives that you love about Adam chance that the if you don't know someone Tran and you can. Gather it's pride not been much disclosure what oath and have conversation. And I think it comes to violence beyond having policies that he noted Tran spoke some more and I'm actually experienced bands that there if they think homelessness that they acting agent and that's a rival street economy so jobs and housing and access to health care are really important in reducing ban against cancer looked. And sometimes it's also about. And that's really miss and put their bodies on the line which is a lot to ask I had an incident that act. And spoke about publicly in November of last year everything Griffin park and hiking that the friends. Mine and land this guy passed desk and asked the time I've been told them the time and once. The meant that got the time he asked guy or girl in relationship to me now with math and had a hoodie and it. You know I thought how does the if they're being guide meat out and Adam Matt and Adam sort of told him to (%expletive) off in February exactly those words and the guy with each I'm stack my friend and in that moment. In that moment my friends instinct was to put his body between the in this person I'm so grateful it is friend in. That moment and our low homes. Worth protecting. Our humanity is worth protect. I have read about that incident Laverne but to hear you talk about it just fills me with. So many different emotions Human Rights Campaign talks but at least 44 trans people were murdered. In the US last year and they were many trans women of color and so this is a very serious issue you've talked a lot over the past. About the internalized shame. And as being part of your story what are some of the ways that you've. Broken free from that. Exorcise that if you well and it to become the activist that you are. I. And love the US about that would ever went for need when it comes to shame resilience trauma resilient is an ongoing process is not a one dime and you know and same functions in the body and a very similar way to traumatize and breeding ground when she defines change he finds it is intensely painful believe we have about ourselves. There were unworthy connection belonging she's as guilty if I'm sorry I made a mistake in shame is. I'm sorry I am a mistake and in her research she said that. Empathy is the antidote to sing that when we until I shaming story and are met with empathy that abstained dissipate eighty back percent. There's so much of my personal work we're building chambers of the doings is being aware that. And having the courage to tell the truth to someone who with earned the right to hear my story and I think to. Prom and I think slam want to talk about trauma and I'm so blessed to be a part trivia of the new book you are. Your best thing that pretty brown and I'm trying to Burt edited and looks at Chaman trauma resilient in the black experience trauma is similar to shame that is different and trauma we can think the trauma is just you know horrible horrible incident might there is depends Thomas too much too fast too soon. Anything that stressful can create their trauma response and Abner Richardson's building. That kind of resilience and I think requires professional help are being able to acknowledge it. And going get the help that we need. And then it becomes with its reacted practice things differently at the years ago I think I came out about my actual age and now 49 years old. They had so much shame about how old Latin. And I could I told myself stories that. I'm not. A double or higher Rubel an actor a certain age since I had a I had to lie about that. And when I reveal my age you weigh in your OBI thought the whole sort of world would in the next I don't believe global and I'm and right. You look great particular area can only think that it's time away addict and is oftentimes when we have shame about something we build up this story and ahead in our imagination that is. Gonna be much worse than it really is when we just tell the truth. But here's the thing now that I know your trees I want to know your skin harassment. Because do you. Get it. A LB well Matt you are dropping some real knowledge on slimmer and this is amazing Renee brown Toronto Burke to heroines out there doing some real healing on the one last question for you which is. There are so many parallel conversations going on right now in our country about this reckoning that we're handing that we're standing up to hate as a nation. And I know as an Asian American I know that they're so many communities of color talking about allies ship and how to be a good ally but in this pride month. How can people be strong allies to the LG BT community is special of the tea in that community the trans community. If we are a chuck. Talking about LG BTU IAA. Plus oats and we're not talking about how they didn't expect it didn't alert. I'm wit and the issues are set examine the odds and me we're not a conversation with economic justice. Think one of the some of them what are some of the most incredible things that we can do any margin has agreed to people who were not involved in your duties orientation or race it is and hire people and paid their. We need a Smart I met. Ride and in. We talk about racial duck is the of economic tests be right into an asset here hell you're should be in the right Britain one and it's it's always important the intersection. Yeah and on and you're so right to bring out the you know food insecurity the whole housing insecurity. Facts the trans community especially during this pandemic has been. Doubly so Laverne Cox thank you I could speak to you all say thank you for your was done. So much pride and up next we'll meet the celebrity makeup artists and fashion designer and now dragged phenomenon. Making a colorful slashes the first trans men on route calls drag racers say let them. Boys girls and dean. Isn't it crown your pain as.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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