In addition to OITNB, Cox has enjoyed success as the first transgender woman to cover TIME magazine and to win a Daytime Emmy. Through it all, she’s brought awareness to the LGBT movement and has put a face to the transgender community, opening doors for others such as Bruce Jenner, who confirmed his transition into a woman last Friday.
However, although being transgender is part of her identity, Laverne makes it clear she is much more. An African-American woman from a working class background, she was raised by a single mother and overcame tremendous obstacles to become the respected actress and figure she is today.
Basically, we could all learn a thing or two about life from Laverne Cox. Fortunately, she’s known to drop words of wisdom whenever she’s given a platform to speak. In honor of #MotivationMonday, here are 15 quotes from Cox that gave inspiration to us all.
1. “Just because someone has committed a crime, it does not mean that they are no longer a human being.”
2. “By doing the work to love ourselves more, I believe we will love each other better.”
3. “I would never be so arrogant to think that someone should model their life after me. But the idea of possibility…the idea that I get to live my dreams out in public, hopefully will show to other folks that it’s possible. So I prefer the term ‘possibility model’ to ‘role model.'”
4. “We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s okay.”
5. “The therapist asked me if I knew the difference between a boy and a girl. And in my infinite wisdom as a third grader, because third graders are so wise, I said, ‘There is no difference.'”
6. “I am a person of color, working-class, born to a single mother, but I stand before you tonight an artist, an actress, and a sister and a daughter, and I believe that it is important to name the multiple parts of my identity because I am not just one thing, and neither are you.”
7.“I believe that when we love someone, we respect them, and we listen to them; we feel that their voice matters. And- we let them dictate the terms of who they are and what their story is.”
8. “Who you are authentically is alright. Who you are is beautiful and amazing.”
9. “If someone needs to express their gender in a way that is different, that is okay, and they should not be denied healthcare. They should not be bullied. They don’t deserve to be victims of violence. … That’s what people need to understand, that it’s okay and that if you are uncomfortable with it, then you need to look at yourself.”
10. “We shouldn’t demonize the woman who wears high heels and we shouldn’t demonize the woman who doesn’t wear high heels. We should accept all forms of comportment.”
11. “Whether you’re transgender or not, most of us get to a point in our lives where we can no longer lie to ourselves.”
12. “There are lessons in everything. The bad, the good. Our job is to listen, and to continue to learn, so that maybe we get better at this. Maybe get a better life.”
13. “I believe if we have something that we love to do, that can save our lives. That can get us through.”
14. “When I was perceived as a black man I became a threat to public safety. When I was dressed as myself, it was my safety that was threatened.”
15. “My third grade teacher called my mother and said, ‘Ms. Cox, your son is going to end up in New Orleans in a dress if we don’t get him into therapy.’ And wouldn’t you know, just last week I spoke at Tulane University, and I wore a lovely green and black dress.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty