“They’re trying to get us out and make us not exist anymore and erase us, but we will not be erased,” she said at the Essence 10th Anniversary Black Women in Hollywood Awards and Gala in Los Angeles on Thursday night

By Raha Lewis
February 24, 2017 09:00 AM
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Credit: Leon Bennett/Getty

Laverne Cox is very clear on her take of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw Obama’s protections for transgender students in public schools.

“They’re trying to get us out and make us not exist anymore and erase us, but we will not be erased,” the transgender star said at the Essence 10th Anniversary Black Women in Hollywood Awards and Gala in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

“The Obama administration set forth how transgender kids should be treated, and the opposition is sort of making it all about bathrooms.

“But in addition to allowing transgender students to use the facilities that are consistent with how we identify, [the guidelines] also had protections around gender name, preferred name, and preferred pronouns, and it was really talking about that. So to take away those sort of guidelines with students feels like we’re moving backwards.”

Cox, who also appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, made the point that a discussion about protecting the transgender community should not be reduced to a discussion about body parts.

“When we have conversations with and about transgender people,” the Orange Is the New Black actress told MSNBC. “We [should] not reduce us to body parts. We are more than the sum of our parts… My transition was about me existing in public space and thriving in society. ”

It is precisely that space that Cox feels is being attacked by President Donald Trump‘s decision.

“I’ve been saying for weeks now, that these anti-transgender bathroom bills are not about bathrooms at all,” Cox said. “They’re about whether we believe transgender people should exist in public space. It’s really about us having access to public space, because transgender people have been using the bathroom for a long time. We’ve always been here. We’re not going anywhere.”