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Actor Laverne Cox: ‘Immigration is an LGBTI issue’

Actor Laverne Cox: ‘Immigration is an LGBTI issue’

Laverne Cox

Trans actor Laverne Cox has spoken out about immigration in light of the tragic situation at the US-Mexico border, where migrants are being detained for seeking asylum.

Marriott’s donation

This week, Marriott International made a huge donation of $100,000 [€87,800.50] to Immigration Equality. Immigration Equality is an organization doing important work on behalf of LGBTI and HIV+ asylum seekers.

Cox partnered with Marriott hotels for its #LoveTravels campaign. To her, the conversation about immigration as it relates to LGBTI rights is long overdue.

Laverne Cox on immigration and trans visibility

‘It’s such an emotional issue right now for the entire country because of what’s happening at the border,’ Cox told The Advocate. ‘Immigration is [also] an LGBTQ issue.’

‘We are having a conversation about immigration now, but that is not divorced from LGBTQ rights. That’s a global conversation. These conversations are all intersecting. It’s all connected.’

Cox notes that while trans visibility has increased in recent years (thanks in part to shows like Orange Is The New Black, Transparent, and Pose), trans women of color are still being killed at an alarming rate in America.

The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision about if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on gender identity. This comes as a number of states are continuing to release anti-LGBTI, especially anti-trans, policies.

‘It’s probably a reaction to [trans] visibility,’ Cox says of anti-trans laws and rhetoric.

‘It’s a reaction to the world changing because trans people have always been here — but we’re no longer in the margins. We are no longer relegated to exist just at nighttime and in the shadows. We have come into the light, and the world is trying to figure out how to reconcile us coming into the light, and wanting and needing a job.’

Karamo Brown’s activism

Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown also participated in Marriott’s #LoveTravels campaign. He spoke to The Advocate about his own LGBTI activism in Washington, DC.

‘I spend a lot of time on [Capitol] Hill, and yes, I’m there because I’m lobbying for certain policies. But it’s also just to say, “Meet me. I’m a Black man, I’m a gay man, I’m a father. Understand what my experience is like,”’ he said.

‘When you think about immigration you don’t think about the intersection of LGBTQIA people. People think of heterosexual families — mama and father and children. But within those families are LGBTQIA people, and not only are they fearing for there lives because they’re asylum-seekers, but there’s this added level of “When I do find safety, am I still going to be safe if I live my truth?” Having campaigns like #LoveTravels helps that conversation because it helps you realize it’s not just families [seeking asylum],’ Brown continued. ‘It’s people who are traveling this world who need love and we need to give it to them.’

Corporate responsibility

For Cox, corporate responsibility plays a big role in ending discriminatory practices.

‘What corporate America can do is have policies, to continue to reach out to various communities and let the world know that discrimination is not OK in their organizations,’ she said. ‘We have philanthropy and we have the incredible work organizations like Marriott do year-round. But we need policies in place.’

See Also

Joe Kennedy III condemns ICE for death of trans refugee in letter

Julián Castro defends trans abortion rights in Democratic debate

US authorities putting LGBTI immigrants in solitary confinement as ‘go-to tool’