October 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Orange is the New Black is the Netflix original that has captivated and educated viewers with the diverse cast of characters in a women’s prison in New York. Laverne Cox’s character, Sophia, is a transgendered, black woman who was sent to prison due to credit card fraud. She struggles with the guilt of letter her son and wife down, leaving the life of being a fireman behind, and with not being supplied the proper dosage of hormones that she needs.
Sharing on her own transformation, Cox exudes confidence in finding herself and “through all things- the difficulties and what it means to be who I am, I love myself…and I am so grateful to live authentically now”.
What made Cox want to take the role? “When it came along, I thought, what a wonderful opportunity to talk about and highlight issues of trans women in prison. Certainly, Sophia has been one of the most complicated characters I’ve gotten to play as an actress, and I’m really grateful she’s come into my life”. Also, Cox speaks of some of the misconceptions of transgendered individuals. “When folks want to write a trans character, the first thing they think of is sex work”.
How is Cox’s role a stepping stone in the right direction and what is it like acting while black and transgender? “It’s hard. The issue of not just being trans, but also being a woman, and it’s being black. And the industry historically doesn’t think that we are marketable, or they want to cast us in very limited ways. But I think that the wonderful lessons that Orange is the New Black is teaching us is that it shows our industry that you can cast women of different races, you can cast different ages and body types, and folks will tune in and be interested. And the public is craving that”.
Many have commented that Sophia’s role have liberated their misconceptions about trans people. However, Sophia remains humble in an interview by thanking other transgender women who have make it possible for her to be where she is today.
In an interview by Huffington Post Live, Cox stated that although she has had many very supportive people of color, mostly those that harass her on the streets are of color. There is still yet a long road to travel to thwart the misconceptions and discrimination of transgendered individuals.
– Brandi S.