After a highly criticized interview between Katie Couric and Laverne Cox, the transgender actress returned to Katie to further discuss transgender issues and the “teachable” moment during their initial interview.
In January, Couric sat down with Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox and RuPaul’s Drag Race Carmen Carrera to discuss trans issues. The interview was criticized for the amount of time Couric spent discussing Cox and Carrera’s physical transition into women. Both women emphasized being transgender has much more emotion and bigger issues to it than just the physical transition, which many people focus on.
“The preoccupation of transition with surgery objectifies trans people and then we don’t get to really deal with the real, lived experiences. The reality of trans people lives is so often we’re targets of violence, we experience discrimination disproportionally to the rest of the community,” Cox told Couric in their January interview.
On Tuesday, Couric said, “I learned it’s very very upsetting to the transgender community because they feel that people are too often fixated on this and that, your anatomy actually has very little to do with your gender identity.”
“That’s great, Katie. I so appreciate your willingness to, first of all, have me back to really go into depth to discuss these issues and your willingness to sort of learn out in public. I commend you on really being teachable because not everybody is,” Cox replied.
Cox explained that she came back on the show to discuss how difficult it may be to have these conversations, but she wants to model how there is the ability to create safe spaces for everyone to have these discussions.
Couric admitted the criticism of her first interview was “hurtful,” but she stated, “I want to use it as a teachable moment not only for myself, but how do we explain what is the appropriate conversation and how do we make people feel if we don’t have an example of what you shouldn’t do as what you should do?”
Cox was not upset with Katie, but rather stated, “We have to be able to make mistakes in public.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, some of the issues transgender people face includes discrimination, less economic opportunities, greater amounts of homelessness, bullying and violence in schools, and many other issues. Some facts provided by the NCTE:
“More than one in four transgender adults have lost at least one job due to bias, more than three-fourths have experience some form of workplace discrimination.”
“One in five transgender people in the U.S. have been refused a home or apartment, and more than one in ten have been evicted, because of their gender identity.”
The National Transgender Discrimination Survey illustrated “78% of respondents who were out as trans while in K-12 school indicated that they had been harassed on the basis of their gender identity, with over one-third (35%) reporting that the harassment escalated to physical assault.”
To learn more about the issues transgender people face, visit the NCTE’s official website.