Laverne Cox calls ‘trans-inclusive’ language 'matter of life and death' during Cali commencement speech
Pitzer College hosted transgender actress Laverne Cox as its commencement speaker.
Cox harped on the importance of "trans-inclusive" language, referencing the new Alabama law that almost completely bans abortion.
Transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox stressed to graduates of Pitzer College the importance of using language that includes the experience of transgender men when hashing the abortion debate during a Saturday commencement speech.
“So, this week...we all know what happened in Alabama, that the most restrictive anti-abortion law was passed there this week,” Cox said during the California college's commencement, encouraging the crowd to “boo” the state’s new near-total abortion ban.
The transgender actress had previously shared a tweet from civil rights activist Michael Skolnik, which read “woman’s body. Woman’s choice. End of story,” according to Fast Company.
[RELATED: ‘Transgender handouts’ examine ‘Gender-Normative Privilege’]
Cox recounted returning to Twitter, only to find a user complaining that the actress was not acknowledging “trans brothers.”
“They basically said that, you know, women and people who identify as women are not the only people who are affected by anti-abortion laws,” Cox said. “That people who identify as women are not the only people who get pregnant and — we can applaud for that. It’s the truth.”
“If I were that trans man, I would really want to have language that incorporated and included my experience,” the actress said, adding that the importance of inclusive language is “not just about being politically correct” or “virtue signaling,” but rather that excluding groups of people can “jeopardize their health and well-being,” calling “fully inclusive” language a “matter of life and death for so many people out there.”
“For me, as a trans woman, I can’t get pregnant. I’m very grateful for that!” Cox added. “But it’s an issue that I don’t actually have to think about,” calling this “an incredible privilege. But if we are the person who has to deal with the issue, it is so important to be inclusive and to have our issues dealt with.”
[RELATED: MSU to Natural Science students: ‘No science is needed to support transgender and non-binary identities’]
The Pitzer Office of Communications did not respond to requests for comment but did use the college’s website to highlight the Fast Company piece about Cox’s comments.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan