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Laverne Cox Reminds Us Why Deadnaming Trans People Is Violent

Laverne Cox got very real about deadnaming on her Twitter account.

On Monday morning, Cox shared a ProPublica article, “Deadnamed,” a story about the violence trans women of color are facing in Jacksonville, Florida and the police investigations that have followed these killings. Cox appended the article with a note of her own, sharing with her followers her own fear of being deadnamed and why calling trans people by former names is “an act of violence.”

In the note, Cox shared that at one time in her life she dealt with thoughts of suicide and that she carried a note around in her pocket indicating that if she were to die she should be referred to by the name Laverne Cox and that she is a transgender woman.

“Being misgendered and deadnamed in my death felt like it would be the ultimate insult to the psychological and emotional injuries I was experiencing daily as a black trans woman,” she wrote.

Cox shared that she used to share more stories about anti-trans violence and trans homicides on her page but that the experience became retraumatizing.

Finally, she spoke about the power of the ProPublica article and how it brought her to tears.

“I am angered, saddened and enraged that the police in Jacksonville, Florida and other jurisdictions don’t have policies in place to respect the gender identities of trans folks when they have been MURDERED,” she wrote. “I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence.”

Ken Schwenke, one of the reporters of the original ProPublica article, said he was “stunned” and thanked Cox for sharing her story on social media.

Cox has spoken up about several transgender issues since she first rose to fame after the debut of the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black in 2013. Recently, as part of a roundtable of transgender actors, she spoke about the importance of casting transgender people in trans roles and since 2015 she’s spoken about the need to count transgender people as part of the United States census.

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