Laverne Cox says “seeing young transgender people shine” is one of the “greatest joys” of her life, after she achieved career success herself.
The “Orange is the New Black” star came out as transgender when she was a teenager, and after finding her own career success in Hollywood, Laverne has now said she’s excited to see the next generation of the LGBTQI+ community achieve even bigger successes themselves.
She said: "Can I tell you one of the greatest joys of my life, having done all the things that I've done, is seeing young trans people shine? It brings shivers to my spine, it brings tears to my eyes.
“[Seeing] trans and non-binary voices being elevated and having media presence, honestly, it feels like I can pull back a little bit.
“Finally, we have a mainstream platform to amplify the voices of activists, who, for years, have been saying we need a certain level of respect and dignity for trans people.”
And Laverne also says having so many "brilliant younger folks who can come forward" and speak out helps her remember that she’s not alone.
She added: "The reality is that I've always had my community behind me and with me, but there weren't as many faces as there are now. Public faces. And that is beautiful.”
The 48-year-old actress experienced severe racism and bullying whilst growing up in Mobile, Alabama, and was also subject to abuse when she began transitioning whilst living in New York.
And Laverne says the experience has made her very sensitive to how others might be suffering.
Speaking to People magazine as part of the SeeHer Story series, the Can You Keep a Secret?“ actress explained: "I now realise how I've used stress hormones to survive - that I've always been in perpetual fight, flight, or freeze.
“In this political environment, I think we dehumanise people we disagree with. What we need is to rehumanise each other ... we need to begin to have empathy and love."