"Our community is resilient and our history of resistance runs deep."
Michaela Morgan

12 Aug 2017 - 8:03 AM  UPDATED 12 Aug 2017 - 8:03 AM

A new video narrated by actress Laverne Cox gives viewers a history lesson on the transgender civil rights movement in the United States.

‘A Trans History: Time Marches Forward and So Do We’ uses live illustrations to educate people about the Stonewall riots— as well as lesser known moments in LGBT+ history that took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

“There are probably many other such events yet to be uncovered,” says Cox.

“They remind us of our courageous history of resisting institutionalised bullying and oppression.”

The 4-minute clip also pays tribute to ‘transcestors’ including Miss Major, Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera and Flawless Sabrina who were all sent to prison “because they dared to be themselves when society made it a crime to deviate from gender norms”.


Accompanied by watercolour illustrations by Molly Crabapple—Cox goes on to explain that while the transgender community is more visible than ever, trans people continue to be targeted.

“In schools, harassment often forces trans students to drop out. Federal and state governments act as bullies too, now rescinding guidance on how to protect trans students and passing harmful laws banning trans people from common rest rooms," she says. 

“Epidemics of homelessness, HIV and incarceration can strain the survival opportunities for trans women of colour.

“The murder rate of trans women of colour increases with every passing year.

"Rather than invest in our survival, the new administration has attempted to both literally and figuratively delete us and has ignored requests to investigate the escalating violence against us.”

Cox adds that only 18 out of 50 states in the US have laws that specifically protect the rights of trans people. In 2017, 22 states introduced bills aimed at stripping rights away from the community.

Laverne Cox on the importance of trans visibility: “lives are on the line”
“It’s so crucial that we have representation that is diverse, that represents the full humanity of trans people."

“Even as these lawmakers signal that we are not worthy of protection, we persevere,” Cox continues.

“Most of us have already spent years in dark places, wrestling with our truth, feeling ashamed of who we are.

“But when we manage to survive, and even to love ourselves, we are stronger than ever.”

The video is a collaboration between Cox, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Transparent producer Zachary Drucker and illustrator Molly Crabapple. 

You can watch the full video below: