According to salon.com, the “Orange Is the New Black” star put a halt to Couric’s focus on her and transgender model Carmen Carrera’s genitalia by presenting an issue that more than hits close to home for her.
“I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence,” Cox told Couric. “We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.”
During Couric’s interview, the former “Today” show co-host discussed Cox and Carrera’s respective careers as well as upcoming projects and their experiences as high-profile transgender women using their platforms to bring issues of trans justice to national attention.
Before speaking to Cox, Couric referenced an earlier segment that had Carrera deflecting her questions about surgery and trans bodies.
“I don’t want to talk about it, it’s really personal,” Carrera replied. After relaying the common struggle among transgender people, Cox continued to educate Couric while mentioning the recent murder of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old trans woman, in addition to the rate of violence against trans people in the United States.
“By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination,” Cox stated.
To see more of Katie Couric’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, check out the video below: