Laverne Cox almost took her own life 17 years ago after feeling as though she would “never be accepted” as a woman.
The 46-year-old transgender actress has revealed she once got to a point where she felt so “harassed” on a daily basis that she contemplated taking her own life in order to stop the bullies who made her feel “less than human”.
She said: “The world made me feel like I would never be accepted, never live without being harassed and less than human.
“I was living in New York City, and every day that I left the house I had to arm myself. Not literally, but emotionally. Because I knew that when I left the house, I was probably going to be harassed. I knew the second I left that people would mis-gender me, call me a man, that the second I walked into the subway I wouldn’t feel safe, when I walked into the bodega I would be pointed at and laughed at, and treated as if I were not human.”
The ‘Orange is the New Black’ star – who was the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy – even went as far as writing out her suicide note, where she made sure to include her name and preferred pronouns so that she wouldn’t be “mis-gendered in her death”.
She added: “One day I sat down and I typed up notes, and the notes said, ‘My name is Laverne Cox and I should not be referred to by any other name. My preferred pronouns are ‘she’ and ‘her’, and I shouldn’t be referred to as any other pronouns.’ And I made about five copies and had a copy in each of my pockets and placed them around my apartment because I was planning to commit suicide.
“I was planning to kill myself. I wanted to make sure that I would not be mis-gendered in my death. I wanted to be sure that I would not be dead-named in my death. That the disregard for my identity on a daily basis would not happen when I was dead.”
Laverne now says she isn’t sure why she never went through with her plan, but is “so grateful” to still be alive today.
Speaking in Boston on Wednesday (24.10.18) at a rally to help prevent the overturning of the 2016 law to protect transgender people from discrimination, the actress said: “I am not entirely sure why I didn’t commit suicide when I was thinking about doing it 17 years ago … and I am so grateful that I decided not to try to take my life. I’m so grateful that I survived. I have come to understand that I am here for a divine purpose and I want every trans person to know that you are here for a divine purpose no matter what anyone says to you.”