Laverne Cox is using her purse to (literally) pay it forward.
The “Orange Is The New Black” star and LGBTQ rights activist appeared at the 2019 Emmy Awards last fall holding a custom clutch designed by Edie Parker. The accessory was printed with a rainbow design on one side and read, “Oct. 8, Title VII, Supreme Court.”
Cox, who collaborated with Parker on the design, wanted the bag to remind Americans of the date that the Supreme Court would begin hearing arguments over whether LGBTQ workers should be protected under federal anti-discrimination laws.
This week, she listed a one-of-a-kind replica of the clutch on Charitybuzz. Proceeds will be donated to the Anti-Violence Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group that strives to end violence against the community. Bidding is open through July 8, and as of Tuesday afternoon had reached $1,025.
The Supreme Court affirmed last week that businesses can’t fire or otherwise discriminate against LGBTQ workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Legal experts have said the landmark ruling, much like the court’s 2015 decision on marriage equality, will have lasting ramifications beyond employment protections.
Cox, who is transgender, told “Entertainment Tonight” that she was “overwhelmed” by the news, noting she “didn’t have high expectations” given the current conservative makeup of the court.
“There are so many moments in our country where justice is not served, but in this moment, in the United States of America, the Supreme Court affirmed that firing someone from their job [for being gay or transgender is illegal],” she said.
Cox’s Hollywood career hit a high mark when Netflix released “Disclosure” last week. The documentary, which traces the history of transgender visibility in entertainment, was directed by Sam Feder and executive produced by Cox. It features interviews with Chaz Bono, Mj Rodriguez and Lilly Wachowski, and has so far received nearly universal praise from critics.