Laverne Cox: From Bullying and Transphobia to Acceptance and Love.

i'm from mobile, al.

Laverne Cox is an actress and a transgender woman whose story takes us from her childhood experiences of being bullied, to the transphobia she experiences as an adult, and the acceptance she finally receives from her mother. Continue Reading for the transcript.

You can find out more about Laverne at her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

My name is Laverne Cox and I’m from Mobile, Alabama. Until recently, I have had a tremendous amount of shame about the bullying I experienced as a child. Whenever something would happen and my mother would find out, she would yell at me and say well why didn’t you fight back. Why aren’t you fighting back. And she would also say, what are you doing to make them treat you like that. So, I felt like it was my fault. We took the bus to school everyday. I have a twin brother. They, the kids couldn’t beat us up on the bus because the bus driver was sort of watching in the rear view mirror. But we knew that as soon as we got off the bus we had to take off running or we’d get beaten up. And for years, I joked that I was a very fast runner as a child. And it was sort of my way of deflecting from how painful it was, to sort of feel like I was always in danger. Up until that point, everyone was telling me that I was a boy. I was 8 years old and I was just convinced that I was a girl. The therapist told my mom and she yelled at me that boys are this way and girls are this way. And it was just this big thing. And, I again, internalized a lot of shame about the way I was thinking about myself and about who I was. I loved to dance as a kid. I was always dancing around. I would dance  in the supermarket. I would just dance everywhere. Back when PE was in schools, when the kids were doing free play I was off dancing to music that was always in my head. And I always sort of had characters that I was playing and making up. So I begged from 5 years old  to 8 years old to be in dance classes and my mom finally found a program for me. And I believe that that saved my life. I did try to commit suicide once, when I was about 11 years old, unsuccessfully. But if I didn’t have school, my mom’s a teacher, and education and reading and something I loved and that I was good at, I don’t think I would have survived. I didn’t feel safe at all as a kid.

And I’ve had moments like that as an adult, but the difference with me as an adult is that I have support now. I have people in my life who support and validate me as who I am. As a kid, when kids were saying all these awful things about me I thought that was the truth of who I was. And as an adult now, I find myself wanting to go back into oh people are saying this about me it must be true. But then I’m like, well  no. I have people around me who are supportive and who are amazing who love me and are like no, what these people are saying about you is not who you are. And I know that that’s not who I am.

This past Christmas, my mom and I were, we were just talking and we hadn’t talked about the bullying stuff but you know, she, my mom she’s very aware of what’s been going on in the news with all the bullying stories. And she, it just sort of came up and she just said, just out of nowhere she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know how to… I didn’t know what to do. I’m sorry I didn’t know how to deal with it.” She had her way and she thought that was the way and it didn’t work. And she loves me, and she supports me, and she’s proud of me. And that’s all I really wanted as a kid to have my mom be proud of me. That’s all I wanted. And she is, so that’s kind of amazing.


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  9. Where’s the father in all this?

  10. I think you are amazing. You seem to be someone who is a true friend. God bless you.

  11. You Are A True Insparation. LikeII’m Not Gay Or Bi Or Anything , But how strong you are is amazing . I figured out you came to tn yesterday but I had no idea . please visit again

  12. Will you please do makeup tuterials. On a different note life is hard, people are cruel .what small minded people get off on trying to demean anyone, they show their insecurities and ignorance by their actions. Life is a gift from God. Everyone has a purpose. You are blessed that in so many ways you are helping people .

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  14. U are an amazing person and thx for sharing ur story

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  16. I am finding out that many men secretly date transgender women, makes one wonder why all the bullying?

  17. I’ve followed your story and just adored you from the Kelly and Mike show. Regardless of people personal opinion you are gorgeous and keep up the awesome work. There’s always going to be haters trust me I haven’t gone threw your shoes but im an very very light complexion African American and have delt with negative opinion all my life. So you hold on girlfriend and keep them haters hating that’s just who they are and have self esteem issues of there own but don’t you dare carry there negative weight.


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  23. I’m truly sorry you had to go through all that bullying as a child. I . I’m glad you and your mom are doing well.
    There’s nothing better than having your mother’s approval and love.
    I am glad that I read your story.

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  25. I share so much of your turmoil. I am now a middle age woman but entered this world with an eye birth defect that did not allow me to open them. Eye surgeries & recuperation resulted in eyes opening but with red scars for years. I too had to learn to deflect or would not have survived. So I raise my glass to you girl!!! You jeep right on rockin!

  26. I feel for kid.
    I get th’ whole shame internalization thing, as I have experienced similar.
    but I’ve learned that maybe things happen to us so that it makes us stronger..Just as it’s made you strong.. And able, to rise up, to be th’ role model, th’ inspiration…
    & th’ hero…that you are..
    Thank you for sharing your story.. and for having th’ courage for being all that you are…

  27. Hey Lavern girl, I’m doing a case study about you in my abnormal psychology class, unfortunately this society believes that transsexuals have a mental disorder called Gender Dysphoria. My team wanted to do it on Catilyn Jenner but I advocated against it. the reason why is because I truly feel your sincerity through your life struggle. I respect you and appreciate your advocacy for the GBLT community. The knowledge you bring to main stream helps with the phobia how the world views and treat people in general. I applaud you for your quest to freedom. May the heavens contiue to bless you on your life journey. FreeV D’Poet

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