Laverne Cox vs Kevin Williamson

Laverne Cox, star of Orange is The New Black Kevin D. Williamson

Laverne Cox, star of Orange is The New Black, made history by being the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of the American TIME magazine, June 2014 issue.

This sparked a variety of responses, one of which was an article written by Kevin D. Williamson, a correspondent for the National Review Magazine. His article was bluntly entitled: Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman.

In this article, Williamson mocked the idea of transgender people, saying “A man who believes he is a woman trapped in a man’s body, no matter the intensity of his feeling, is no such thing.’

He also criticised medical professionals for taking transgender people seriously, stating that “The duty of the medical profession is not to encourage and enable delusions, but to help those who suffer from them, to cope with them.”

What I would love to know is how Williamson has any idea what it feels like to be a person with transgender feelings, and how he feels qualified to speak for them. And he definitely isn’t qualified to speak for doctors and surgeons.

As I read the article, that continued “We are not expected to treat those who have undergone the procedure as men who have taken surgical and hormonal steps to impersonate women (or vice versa) but as people who have literally changed sex, which they have not….” All I could think was, why does he care so much? Why does it matter to him at all if people identify themselves as the opposite gender? It is not hurting him in any way.

I have absolute respect for Laverne Cox and her decisions. When she appeared on the Katie Couric show, she refused to answer questions about her genitalia, stating that; “I feel like there’s a preoccupation with genitalia and surgery that objectifies transgender people, and then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences, the reality of transgender lives; that often we are the subjects of violence and discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community.”

I think she’s right, everyone is too busy wondering what bits a transgender person has or doesn’t have that they completely miss the problems that transgender people are facing and how they are being treated.

At the end of the day, Laverne Cox is a brave, intelligent and talented person and in my opinion, that means she can call herself whatever she damn well wants and nobody at all should try and put her down for that.