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Laverne Cox Talks Caitlyn Jenner: “The World Is So Much More Welcoming for Folks Like Us”

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox talks Caitlyn Jenner at OrangeCon on Thursday, June 11.  Theo Wargo/WireImage

A brave new world! It’s an important time for the transgender community with Caitlyn Jenner‘s historic Diane Sawyer interview and Vanity Fair cover as well as Laverne Cox‘s groundbreaking role as Sophia on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black

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Cox, 31, appeared at OrangeCon on Thursday, June 11, to promote Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black in NYC. When the subject of Jenner and the upcoming ESPYS —where the former Olympian is being honored — came up, Cox quickly smiled and laughed. 

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“I’ve never been excited for the ESPYS before [laughs], gotta keep it real,” she told Us. “What a day. I was getting ready earlier and my hairstylist he said, ‘When he was a kid, it was just not like this.’ We were watching television and they were talking about Caitlyn and they were talking about LGBT folks who’ve come out on YouTube. The world is so much more welcoming for folks like us. So that’s really beautiful.” 

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair Cover
Caitlyn Jenner on Vanity Fair Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair

But Cox also acknowledges that the trans community has a long way to go. 

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“The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ report just came out this week, and we see again that trans women, particularly trans women of color are at the most risk for violence,” the Netflix star explained. “Violence against trans women has gone up 13 percent since last year’s report. In so many ways, it’s a wonderful time, but in so many ways we are still deeply challenged to protect the lives of all LGBT people, particularly trans women of color.”

And while Cox loved Jenner’s stunning Vanity Fair cover, she wants people to know that there’s more to being transgender than looks. 

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“I spent lots of time getting ready tonight and there’s photos and there’s fake hair and there’s makeup going on, but we’re more than our appearance, we’re more than who we’re wearing or how we look,” Cox said. “It was really important for me to celebrate the beauty that’s not external for Caitlyn, her courage and that of all trans people. It’s important that trans people are not evaluated just on how they look. We should be expected by who we are, despite how we look.”

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