Staff WriterAnnual GLAAD Media Awards. Presenting the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to the Orange Is The New Black actress, she described Laverne as, “One of my heroes;” and an “LGBT icon.” Looking dapper in a tweed suit, Ellen spoke of Laverne’s career achievements including being the first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show, TRANSForm Me. Taking to the stage in turquoise, Laverne stuttered with nerves saying she’s still not used to receiving awards. “I’m an African American transgender woman from a working class background, raised by a single mother.” She claimed, “We are not programmed to think we should receive these kind of awards.” The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. We cannot think of a more deserving winner than Laverne. Her latest role has allowed young people struggling with identity to open up about who they are. She talks about an encounter with a college student who told her, “When I tell people I’m trans now they say ‘oh like Sophia in Orange Is The New Black?’” During her acceptance speech Laverne thanked GLAAD for making sure the “’T’ is not silent in the LGBT community.” She praised the organization for their work in helping bring CeCe McDonald to New York City. Providing her with a media platform to share her story of being a transgender woman in a male prison. Laverne also thanked Candis Cayne (Dirty Sexy Money) for being the first transgender actress to star in a consistent role in a prime time slot. Candis gave Laverne the drive to find an agent to make it in the industry, “I would not be here if it weren’t for Candis Cayne. She’s a major possibility model for me.” Speaking about her struggles of achieving her dream job, Laverne told an emotional looking audience about her constant rejection from agents. “For years I was trying to have a career as an actor doing what I love and was told repeatedly by agent after agent that they didn’t know what to do with me, that I would not work.” She then became emotional herself when thanking her agent Paul Hilepo. Lucky for the pristine actress her make-up didn’t run when saying, “Paul saw something in me that I didn’t quite see in myself.” You can watch Laverne Cox’s heart-warming acceptance speech below:
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