Activist and actress Laverne Cox, of "Orange is the New Black" fame, went on HLN's Showbiz Tonight on Tuesday and delivered an important message to Cassidy Lynn Campbell, one of the first transgender homecoming queens in American history: "You are loved."
Cassidy has received much attention since being crowned homecoming queen last week. Unfortunately, not all of the attention has been positive, according to the tearful video she posted on YouTube recently. Cassidy used the video to respond to the bullying she has received, chronicle her journey as a young trans woman, and explain how "distraught" she has felt since the "ignorant" backlash to her victory. "I am a human being. I am a person, just like every girl up there," Cassidy told viewers.
Once Laverne learned of Cassidy's heartbreaking YouTube confession, she took to the internet and TV airwaves to show her support. When interviewed Tuesday on Showbiz Tonight, Laverne looked into the camera and made her message heard: "I just want to say to you, Cassidy, that you are loved. That I love you. That you`re a beautiful young woman and that you are so strong and brave and courageous and you`ve inspired me and so many people around this country. And we need you. We need your light. We need your bravery and we need your courage… We don`t need you just to survive, we need you to thrive."
Laverne also tweeted supportive messages to Cassidy (@xocassidlylynn) and, as a social media call to action, encourages others to do the same. "Show her love conquers haters," Laverne tweeted on Wednesday. Cassidy used Twitter to respond to the outpour of support, saying "I am ready to thrive and be the strong role model I was meant to be." The two have been using #girlslikeus, and we encourage you to join the conversation.
The interview concluded as Laverne related Cassidy's struggle to the experiences of many trans people, especially youth. "I think for everybody out there who says that they care about the safety of our children in this country, that we need to begin to create space in our society where we do not stigmatize, ridicule and demean transgender people," said Laverne. She continued, "Cassidy`s story is a microcosm of what happens to so many transgender people all over this country on a daily basis. It`s basically socially sanctioned to make fun of us, to treat our identities as a bare joke, and that`s what she`s experiencing."
The activist encouraged teens and adults to join forces, have open dialogues with one another, and reform policies in order to better protect students and, ultimately, to create a more accepting culture. To take a stand against bullying and unite with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans students, take GLAAD's Spirit Day Pledge and learn more about why you should wear purple on October 17th.