Laverne Cox Schools Stand-Up Comic After Joke About Anti-Transgender Violence

"Our lives matter. Trans murder isn't a joke."

Violence against trans women is no joke, but apparently a stand-up comic named Lil Duval didn't get the message.

During an appearance on Power 105.1's "The Breakfast Club" — a popular radio show hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God — last Friday, Duval was asked around the 6:30 mark what his reaction would be if he found out he slept with a trans woman. His deeply disturbing answer? "This might sound messed up but I don't care, she dying. I can't deal with that. I can't do that. You manipulated me to believe in this thing."



Even in trying to clarify his response, the comedian erred, saying that he didn't mean that he would be violent, only that he would "be so mad I'm probably going to want to kill them."

When transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox got wind of Duval's inflammatory remarks, she set him straight, making clear that his remarks weren't just disgusting, they were dangerous, especially in light of the fact that transgender women of color are being murdered at an alarming rate. After tweeting that she needed to take "several deep breaths" before reacting, Cox admits she got emotional.

Still, Cox eloquently advocated for the trans community and schooled Duval for his hateful comments. "Some folks think it's ok to joke about wanting to kill us," she wrote. "We have free speech but that speech has consequences and trans folks are experiencing the negative consequences with our lives." 

She added, "It hurts my spirit cause this isn't funny. Our lives matter. Trans murder isn't a joke."

It's worth noting that, per HuffPost, Lil Duval hasn't yet apologized for his remarks. Buzzfeed reports people are calling for a boycott of "The Breakfast Club" in light of what Duval said.

According to Human Rights Campaign,15 transgender people have already been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2017, and Newsweek reports seven transgender women were killed in the first six weeks of the year alone. Six of those seven women were Black, and the seventh was a Native American.

With the murder rate of transgender women rising, and transgender women of color especially at risk, organizations meant to protect them are increasingly important and can literally mean the difference between life and death. Take, for example, Get Equal — an LGBTQ advocacy group that launched a #ProtectTransWomen day of action back in March.

According to the organization, the day of action succeeded in raising awareness for transgender women of color. As the site noted, "The hashtag #ProtectTransWomen trended nationally, with over 16,000 twitter accounts tweeting out ways their communities are actively protecting and celebrating Black trans women and trans women of color."

Aside from concentrated efforts like that, there's also evidence we can protect transgender women of color from violence and murder by providing them with as much security and stability as possible. 

"As a society we can stop this epidemic by hiring trans women of color, making sure they have safe places to live, and standing up when we see or hear them being demeaned and attacked and simply by valuing their lives," Beverly Tillery, executive director at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told Newsweek earlier this year.

Cover image via Shutterstock / Featureflash Photo Agency.


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