“Ain’t I a Woman?” – Laverne Cox Speaks on Race, Gender Identity with Language of Love

03.03.15 Post by Ian Kantonen

Misogyny. Trans-misogyny. Racial-trans-misogyny. Misandry. Trans-misandry.

I could go on — add one identity after another – until we’re all forced to really think about what is left of us. If everything we are is questioned and humiliated, if we gave in to hatred, we could not be of any gender, sexual orientation or racial origin. We’re all fragments of multiple identities in some way. We’re all humans after all. When there are 7 billion kinds of us, there is bound to be some differences.

There is absolutely no reason to discriminate against identities other than our own, or that we do not understand. Why hurt someone for being who they are? The language of love is the language of all. At a speaking event last week at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Laverne Cox reminded us of this and much more.

As Laverne Cox gracefully talked about her journey of being a transgender woman of color, I sat in an audience of more than 2000 people, relating to her story. I am neither the same race and I am not a trans woman, but I didn’t have to be in order to understand her story. All I had to do was be present with my own experience.

“Ain’t I a woman?” she asked the crowd. She spoke about her incredible journey of transformation, from a curious child, to a terrified teenager, to a determined and incredibly successful woman. She added humor to challenging stories, slowed down when she spoke about the more intense moments, and gently raised her voice when she spoke about her cause.

Laverne Cox is an activist, who shared her incredible journey in order to inspire change and acceptance. She primarily spoke for rights of transgender women, but secondarily spoke for all of us. She spoke for everyone who has felt out of place; bullied; unaccepted; hurt or just different. For everyone who has survived. For everyone who has chased a passion. For everyone who has fought, in one way or another.

She spoke for everyone, because she spoke the language of love.

– Pratakshya Bhandari, student at MSU – Mankato

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