Transgender Actress Laverne Cox Shuts Down Katie Couric’s ‘Insensitive’ Questions
Katie Couric has been slammed for a recent interview with transgender actress Laverne Cox that many felt was insensitive. The Orange is the New Black star appeared with transgender model Carmen Carrera to talk about their careers, but Couric primarily fielded a series of uncomfortable questions about their genitals and what “parts” the women now had.
After initially asking Cox about Orange is the New Black, Couric once again brought up the genitalia questions that Carrera refused to answer because they were “really personal.” Couric justified the questioning as an educational tool because some people are “not familiar with transgenders,” failing to realize she incorrectly used the term as a noun. After asking Cox if she felt there was a fixation about this type of question, the actress responded that she felt there was a “preoccupation” with surgery and trans people.
“The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences,” said Cox. “The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. 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.”
Cox then highlighted the recent case of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was brutally murdered “simply for being who she was. By focusing on bodies, we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination.” The studio audience applauded her response and Couric also praised Cox as “so smart.”
But while Couric’s questioning may have been inappropriate, she was likely only trying to help create awareness. Her website features a number of resources for the LGBT community, including trans youth.