Laverne Cox knows how much she owes to her “trancestors,” the brave trans men and women who have come before her.
The Emmy-nominated actress and activist lends her voice to an educational new video, Time Marches Forward & So Do We, detailing the long history of trans resistance, as well as the continued push for trans visibility, protection, and equality.
Produced in collaboration with Time, the ACLU, and a creative team that includes Transparent producer Zackary Drucker, the video features colorful illustrations by Molly Crabapple that spotlight pre-Stonewall instances of trans people who courageously resisted institutionalized oppression, such as the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riots in San Francisco.
After explaining how anti-crossdressing and anti-loitering laws forced trans people to live in the shadows for decades, the video also addresses today’s anti-trans bathroom laws and the increasing murder rate of trans women of color.
“Most of us have already spent years in dark places, wrestling with our truths, feeling ashamed of who we are,” Cox says. “But when we manage to survive, and even to love ourselves, we are stronger than ever. Try as they might, these lawmakers cannot erase us. Our rights will be hard won, but we are winning.”
“Resistance is our birthright, the gift passed on from our elders,” the Orange Is the New Black star continues, referencing activists like Miss Major, Martha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera. “We’ve always existed and we’ll continue to fight until we are all safe—and free.”
This video comes just weeks after President Donald Trump declared that transgender service members were prohibited from serving in the U.S. military, citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” Criticism has come swiftly from politicians and celebrities with messages of pro-trans support.
Watch Time Marches Forward & So Do We below.