Laverne Cox Says She Didn’t Enjoy Male Privilege as Feminist Author Claims

“My gender was constantly policed. I was told I acted like a girl and was bullied and shamed for that,” says “The Trustee” actress

Last Updated: March 13, 2017 @ 2:32 PM

Laverne Cox schooled Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, who told BBC that the experiences of transgender women are different from women whose gender was assigned female at birth.

The “Orange Is the New Black” star kicked up a social media firestorm this weekend, after taking issue with Adichi’s recent comments on Friday in which she, essentially, told the BBC that trans women can’t relate to cisgender women because they enjoyed male privilege before their transition.

It didn’t take long before Adichi was facing a barrage of angry tweets, including one from Laverne Cox about the “privilege” of being bullied as kid.

Cox never mentions Adichi in her lengthy Twitter rebuttal, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

“I was talking to my twin brother today about whether he believes I had male privilege growing up,” Cox wrote. “I was a very feminine child though I was assigned male at birth. My gender was constantly policed. I was told I acted like a girl and was bullied and shamed for that. My femininity did not make me feel privileged.”

“Patriarchy and cissexism punished my femininity and gender nonconformity,” Cox went on to say. “The irony of my life is prior to transition I was called a girl and after I am often called a man.”

During the interview with the BBC on Friday, Adichi, an award-winning Nigerian writer, was asked whether a “trans woman who grew up identifying as a man, who grew up enjoying the privileges of being a man, does that take away from becoming a woman? Are you any less of a real woman?”

Adichi responded: “I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges the world accords to men, and then sort of changed, switched gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning in the world as a woman, and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”

On Saturday, Adichi clarified her comments.

“Of course trans women are part of feminism,” the author wrote in a post on Facebook. “I do not believe that the experience of a trans woman is the same as that of a person born female. I do not believe that, say, a person who has lived in the world as a man for 30 years experiences gender in the same way as a person female since birth. Gender matters because of socialization. And our socialization shapes how we occupy our space in the world. To say this is not to exclude trans women from Feminism or to suggest that trans issues are not feminist issues or to diminish the violence they experience — a violence that is pure misogyny.”

Cox recently landed a co-lead part on ABC’s “The Trustee,” a female buddy cop pilot. The role was not written with a trans character in mind.

Read Cox’s full response to Adichi’s comments below.