“I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence. When I say that I am referring to cultural and structural violence. The police misgendering and deadnaming trans murder victims as a matter of policy feels like a really good example of that cultural and structural violence,” the actress wrote on Twitter.
Cox’s post appears to have been prompted by an in-depth report by ProPublica on the practice of deadnaming and the murders of several transgender women in Jacksonville, Florida.
Deadnaming is the use of trans people’s birth name, often corresponding to the gender they do not identify with, as opposed to their chosen name.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office referred to three recently killed transgender black women as men and refused to use their chosen names.
ProPublica looked into every reported killing of a transgender person in the U.S. since January 2015 and found that 74 of the 85 victims were deadnamed or misgendered by law enforcement.
In Cox’s essay, she detailed a time when she felt suicidal and planned to have a note in her pocket instructing that she be referred to only by the pronouns she indicated and by her chosen name of Laverne Cox.
“Being misgendered and deadnamed in my death felt like it would be the ultimate insult to the psychological and emotional injuries I was experiencing daily as a black trans woman in New York City, the injuries that made me want to take my own life,” she wrote.
Cox’s post has received much praise on social media, with many thanking her, including one “sending love and light” her way.
You can read the entire ProPublica report here.