Last spring, actress, documentary film producer, and equal rights advocate Laverne Cox was scheduled to come to campus for the IU Arts & Humanities Council’s Indiana Remixed event. Due to the strike of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these exciting events, including Cox’s appearance at the IU Auditorium, were postponed or canceled.
What is Cox doing now? How do we keep up with her work?
Something to check out is the newest Netflix original documentary produced by Laverne Cox, Disclosure, featuring prominent trans artists and creatives such as Cox, Candis Cayne, Tiq Milan, and Yance Ford, among others. It takes viewers through the history of trans representation in media and film. As these various guest speakers tell personal stories and comment on their own media consumption, a problematic correlation between trans people and violence, humor, and fear, etc., is revealed.
Laverne Cox’s character on the groundbreaking show “Orange Is the New Black,” as well as the advent of “Pose,” written and directed by Black trans artists, helped to transform trans storytelling. But these shows only came after years of misrepresentation that have affected the lives of trans people outside of Hollywood portrayal and informed the stereotypes that continue to plague society.
At the end of the documentary, Cox mentions the importance to “defeat policies that scapegoat us, policies that discriminate against us, that dehumanize us. Because until that happens, all that energy from the silver screen won’t be enough to better the lives of trans people off the screen.”
I believe a key message to take away is that we must educate ourselves about both underrepresentation and misrepresentation. Unfortunately, these two phenomena tend to coincide with one another. Now is the time to understand how, why, and what we can do to change this.
Read more about Disclosure here, and watch the full documentary on Netflix.