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Breaking Borders

BY Carita Rizzo | December 27, 2016 | Feature Features National

Laverne Cox makes history in her new CBS series, "Doubt."
LAW AND ORDER Laverne Cox's legal series, "Doubt," premieres Feb. 15.

“I’ve wanted to play a lawyer for years, and it has been such a delight [to do so],” explains Laverne Cox, who takes on the role as attorney Cameron Wirth in her new show, Doubt. Being able to recite rapid-speed legalese on a network procedural is perhaps not the typical dream role for an actress, but then, there is nothing typical about Cox. First of all, playing an attorney who fights for the underdog feeds into both her fascination for constitutional law and her real-life mission to speak on behalf of those who lack a voice. But more importantly, Cox is making television history (again) by being the first transgender thespian to play a transgender character on broadcast TV as a series regular. (She is also the first openly transgender actress to be nominated in an acting category for a Primetime Emmy Award for her work on Orange Is the New Black.)

Yet, what excites Cox isn’t just the milestone of being cast. It’s the work itself that feels revolutionary. “Cameron is good at what she does. She’s empathic and fights hard for her clients,” says Cox. “And there’s a lovely romantic story that begins to develop, where her being trans will become an issue. I’ve never seen anything like it on television or in a film. It rings so true to my own personal experiences as a trans woman dating straight-identified men. The writers have really nailed it.” Confident and fast-talking Cameron is a far cry from Sophia Burset on OITNB, who, in turn, could not be more different from her role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though each has been touted as “the part of a lifetime,” the most impactful character arc Cox has been able to share is her own. “I think my story is a possibility story,” she explains. “I grew up feeling isolated, like there was no one else like me. It turns out that there are a lot of other people like me who are going through [things similar to what] I went through. By sharing my story, other people don’t feel alone.”

Athleisure is everything; being confident in who you are; showing love for trans people; meal delivery

Being ashamed of who you are; objectifying transgender women; racism; xenophobia and misogyny; Brussels sprouts


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