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Laverne Cox opens up about contemplating suicide following exposure of transphobic police practices

The 'Orange is the New Black' star revealed in an Instagram post that she was close to taking her life

2018-08-14

Laverne Cox has opened up about contemplating suicide.

The Orange is the New Black star took to social media following the ProPublica investigation which exposed transphobic practices in police investigations and the actress urged officers to do better when dealing with deaths of transwoman.

In her powerful Instagram post, Cox revealed she was very close to considering taking her life and said she was planning on carrying a note which would state her “name, preferred gender pronouns”.

She wrote: “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.

“My note would be clear that I should not 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.

 

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. My note would be clear that I should not 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 of the violence I have experienced in my own life. I am angered, saddened and enraged that the police in Jacksonville, Florida and other jurisdictions don't have policies in place to respect the gender identities of trans folks when they have been MURDERED. This misgendering and deadnaming also impedes the investigations into these murders. Injustice on top of injustice! I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence. When I say that I am referring to cultural and structural violence. The police misgendering and deadnaming trans murder victims as a matter of policy feels like a really good example of that cultural and structural violence. Thank you ProPublica for this in depth report on this issue. Please read and share and join with local trans organizations demanding that police do better on this issue and many others. Link in bio and here: https://www.propublica.org/article/deadnamed-transgender-black-women-murders-jacksonville-police-investigation/amp?__twitter_impression=true

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“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 of the violence I have experienced in my own life.

“I am angered, saddened and enraged that the police in Jacksonville, Florida and other jurisdictions don't have policies in place to respect the gender identities of trans folks when they have been MURDERED. 

“This misgendering and deadnaming also impedes the investigations into these murders. Injustice on top of injustice!

“I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence. When I say that I am referring to cultural and structural violence. 

“The police misgendering and deadnaming trans murder victims as a matter of policy feels like a really good example of that cultural and structural violence. 

“Thank you ProPublica for this in-depth report on this issue. Please read and share and join with local trans organizations demanding that police do better on this issue and many others.”