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You're listening to Comedy Central now. Laverne Cox, welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show. Thank you so much. If so, this is why this is so interesting. This whole it's a very strange experience.


Yes. Have you gotten used to just meeting and talking to everybody like this?


I have, and I kind of prefer it. Can I tell you, for coronavirus, I never did video chats, like when I would meet guys on dating apps. I would always want to meet in person. Now, if the prerequisite now we have to video chat the screen. So now I'm going to be pre screening all my potential dates via video chat. So thank you, covid-19.


OK, help me understand this though. What are you what do you think you get from the from the video chat that you wouldn't have gotten in person, or was it just for you that you don't have to go to the in person because you've done the video chat? Is that what it is? Save time.


You eliminate a lot of people that you would have wasted time going to meet. And so, like you kind of know in like three to five minutes, if if it's going to be a match, if it's just another it's a pre screen.


You have always been I mean, one of the loudest and proudest LGBTQ activists out there, like you became just like the archetype for what people hoped trans people could achieve, not just in acting, but in any field you've come up with, with a new documentary now that you are a part of and you've and you've produced as well. And it's called disclosure. And what I loved about it is it's a documentary taking us through how trans people have been portrayed by Hollywood in the entertainment industry for so long.


Tell me why you chose to go with this route.


I am obsessed with looking back in history and to help it understand why we are where we are now. And there's so much that hasn't been done around looking at trans history on so many different levels. And because my work is in the media and I'm obsessed with media and want to do better and want the media to do better, it made a lot of things.


We don't even think about it from the time we're kids. We're receiving images, we're receiving images and images and video, and we just start to assemble the world in our minds. There's no denying that Trends has for a very long time been a punch line. Trans has been always displayed as the other, the scary, the punch line. It's been this thing over the past few years. We've started seeing the change. But but when you look at it as somebody who is trans, what have you seen a big change?


Has that change been enough? Enough is relative, right, with the film, one of the things that film grapples with is that there is indeed unprecedented representation of trans folks in the media that really probably began about six years ago. And Sam, our director, Sam Stampeder, noted that whenever there is increased visibility, they have a marginalized community, there's often backlash and it's often increased violence. And that is exactly what we're seeing with the increased murders of black trans women and with the legislative assault as well.


So, yes, things have gotten better in terms of visibility. And then there has been a backlash that we're seeing. And I think one of the most critical things that we should all remember is how the technique of divide and conquer works to divide marginalized people so that I was so beautifully moved when I saw that protest for black trans lives. Right. A little over a week ago. And in Brooklyn. Yeah. And here in L.A. as well, where folks were declaring that Black Lives Matter, that we understand that all black folks are affected by systemic racism and that we have to come together and we all marginalize.


People have to come together. Here's a question I have for you.


That's a difficult one. And I would only ask you because I'm comfortable with you, but how do you think we get to the place where people can acknowledge their discomfort and their misunderstanding of a thing whilst not offending or discriminating, discriminating against the other person? How would you encourage that? In the same way we're having conversations around race. How would you say to people, hey, let's try and encourage just a movement in and around trans awareness?


I think we have to really learn how to sit with discomfort, period. Right. I think whatever it is, we are called upon to interrogate our internalized racism, internalized transphobia. And we all internalize these things as Americans, probably as citizens of the world. And so we each have to be able to sit with that discomfort. I think so often when we are when we come up against something that is uncomfortable for us, often we go into this defensive mode.


We go into firefighter, oh, my God, someone called me trans phobic. Then I have to immediately defend that instead of taking a breath and taking a moment and sitting with the discomfort of maybe being called out, maybe you weren't wrong. Maybe you were. We all have to struggle. So I think a lot of it's about learning how to deal with discomfort, not going into firefighter free so we can actually hear what the criticism and the critique is and then understanding that being uncomfortable does not mean that you are unsafe.




So there is a difference between what the bathroom conversation just makes me think so much about, because really for every for several years, it was all about bathrooms, banning bathrooms right in the segregated South, why folks were not comfortable with black people in the bathroom with them. Did that mean that they were unsafe? And so what is it mean for us to sit with discomfort? What does it mean for us to really ask ourselves, are we not safe or are we just uncomfortable?


I know you've been working on programs to try and help trans people break into the industry, you know, just behind behind the cameras. And you're really pushing for how trans people are portrayed on screen. What are the big changes you think we need to make?


I think the piece is how do we have diverse people in positions of power? One of the things I'm most proud of with disclosure is that everyone on screen is trans and most of the people working behind the scenes and the crew are also trans and in the case. And we couldn't find someone trans to fill a role. And we had a fellowship program where we had assistant to person train the trans person. But it's not just about what Cornel West calls putting black faces in high places.


It's not just about sort of putting diverse people in the same sort of corrupt system. We have to change the way that power works. And so much of that is about, I believe, changing the material conditions of poor and working people. The people who are the most marginalized get them opportunity to work in the industry behind the scenes and then be truly elevated to positions of power to not just occupy the same sort of corrupt system, but to change the system.


Laverne Cox, thank you so much for joining us on the show. Thank you. Trevor Noah, it's good to see you again. Great seeing you. The Daily Show with Criminal Lawyers Edition wants The Daily Show weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central and the Comedy Central Watch full episodes and videos at The Daily Show Dotcom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Daily Show on YouTube for exclusive content and more. This has been a Comedy Central podcast now.