In celebration of Pride Month, YASS Magazine is bringing Laverne Cox, the trans activist, role-model and trailblazing actor in an exclusive interview. Laverne is here to discuss about Pride, visibility and awareness, while sharing some more-than-inspiring personal words with the LGBTQ+ community and with everyone who looks up to her.
Additionally, Emmy-nominated actress and prominent trans advocate Laverne Cox has partnered during this Pride with SodaStream who launch a limited-edition ‘Rainbow Story’ Spirit machine, with 100% of proceeds in the UK going to ILGA World.
Is there enough trans awareness and visibility nowadays?
I’ve said for years that I believe the biggest obstacle facing trans people globally is the assumption that we are always and only the gender we were assigned at birth, that trans women are not women, that trans men aren’t men, and that non-binary people don’t exist. That is at the heart of every piece of discrimination that trans people experience. So we have to accept trans folks on our own terms. We have to do that on a personal level, we have to do it on a structural level, on an ideological level, and we have to believe that for ourselves internally as trans people.
Once we can accept that trans people are who we say we are and that our humanity should be respected, then I think all of the policies that we see being passed in my country, in the United States that are affecting trans youth, we won’t pass laws like that anymore. We won’t think it’s okay to fire someone from their jobs, or to evict them from housing or deny them a job just because of being trans. So I think it’s about acknowledging our humanity and that we are who we say we are.
What would you say to all the people in the LGBTQ+ community who look up to you?
I think if you’re a trans person anywhere in the world, you’ve probably dealt with a lot of trauma and that’s okay. There is help out there. It’s been a huge part of me being able to sit where I am, that I’ve gone to therapy, that I continue to work through my pain, the traumas, the PTSD, all the things that have happened to me, that is really, really crucial, to be healed and whole and to treat people well.
When I think about LGBTQ plus kids all over the world, I always like to remind them that trans people specifically and gender nonconforming people in indigenous cultures all over the world held sacred places in those cultures. That in India, for example, you wouldn’t get married pre colonialism or have a baby christened without a hijra being present, and trans people and gender nonconforming people are sacred and we’ve been sacred since the beginning of time. And so our crowns have been made and we just must put them on our heads, and so I like to remind young people that we are anointed. That trans and non-binary people are anointed and that we must walk through the world with that sense of that sense of being royal, that sense of being anointed, and that we deserve to be here and that we’re here for a divine purpose. I believe that in my spirit, I know that in my spirit.
What is the main message behind this campaign?
I decided to do the campaign because I love SodaStream and I love the idea of being a superhero. I do a lot of work with a lot of different organisations where I try to give back as much as possible, and so if there’s not that element, then it’s harder for me to say yes to something. So it is important that we give back always for me.
I think this video is just fun. I think this film is fun, this rainbow story is fun, and for me, it’s about anyone who’s had a dream or faced adversity, no matter how you identify, that you can have a vision for your life. You can have that vision and bring that vision into reality with a sense of purpose. That it’s never been just about me. I think that message relates to LGBTQ plus folks, I think it relates to folks who aren’t, everybody’s got a dream.
The launch comes as Laverne stars in SodaStream’s 2021 Pride video campaign, highlighting her activism within the LGBTQI+ community and celebrating her personal achievements. The film finishes with Laverne encouraging people to proudly share their rainbow stories with the world.
The film stars Laverne as a superhero and takes us through key moments in her life, beginning with a live action sequence and transitioning into animation as Laverne’s story unfolds. We see her evolve from childhood and the challenges that brought into the strong accomplished woman she is today, taking part in major milestones for LGBTQI+ rights and celebrating her personal achievements, some of which were a first for the trans community all over the world. The video leaves viewers with a message from Laverne encouraging people to proudly share their own rainbow story.
The ‘Rainbow Story’ machine features a sleek matte black design and comes with a special pack of six rainbow markers, inviting consumers to personalize their machines by writing or illustrating their personal pride stories.As such, the ‘Rainbow Story’ Spirit machines feature a new, sleek matte black finish and come with a packet of six rainbow markers, allowing customers to personalise their machines and share individual stories that encompass what ‘pride’ means to them.
Commenting on the launch, Laverne Cox said, “I love SodaStream and I love the idea of being a superhero. I also love that the proceeds from the sale of this Rainbow Story SodaStream are going to an NGO that services the LGBTQI+ community all over the world. I think giving back and being of service is really what it’s all about.”
The machine will be available via SodaStream’s website for £99.99, with 100% of all proceeds going to ILGA World, a global LGBTQI+ NGO that campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex human rights. SodaStream has supported the organisation for the past three years, and on top of the UK donation, 10% of global proceeds from the ‘Rainbow Story’ range will be donated. The new ‘Rainbow Story’ machine joins the existing SodaStream Spirit line up of Chic Grey, Country Green, Icy Blue, Red, Black and White machines – all available via the SodaStream website or through selected retailers.
SodaStream aims to make the world a better place for everyone, and you can save the use of thousands of single-use plastic water bottles and have fresh sparkling water on tap, with one gas cylinder making up to 60 litres of bubbles. Plus, the entire SodaStream Spirit range has been certified as reducing carbon by the Carbon Trust; meaning you can do your bit to look after the planet whilst enjoying refreshing sparkling water on tap. Eco-conscious consumers can also exchange their SodaStream gas cylinders and save £10 on the cost of a new one – from retailers including Sainsbury’s, Currys, Argos, Ryman, Robert Dyas and Lakeland. Alternatively, you can exchange with the SodaStream Sparkle Saver’s Plan and have gas delivered straight to your door! Each SodaStream gas cylinder is lightweight and makes up to 60 litres of bubbles; so, you can enjoy sparkling water while instantly helping to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used.