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It Was Fourth Of July, So She Wore A Tight Red, White, And Blue Dress. Then Came The Comments.

If you've ever felt anger or fear in an encounter involving bullying, catcalling, or just plain ol' meanies ... Laverne Cox (“Orange Is the New Black") has some riveting advice for how to rise above.

1. Recognize the absurdity of the bully's words.

Laverne Cox threw on a red, white, and blue dress one Fourth of July ... and soon encountered two guys on the street who started catcalling her...

"And the Latin guy says, 'Yo mama, can I holler at you?' And the black guy said, 'Yo dude, that's [an N-word].' And then, the Latin guy says, 'No man, that's a bitch.' And the black guy said, 'No, that's [an N-word].' And they began to argue."


"What lovely options!"

2. Take a moment to consider that bullying is a serious offense. And a dangerous one.

"Trans women of color are disproportionately victims of violence. Our homicide rate is the highest in the LGBT community. It went from 43% in 2011 to almost 54% of all LGBTQ homicides for trans women and mostly trans women of color."

"There is a link between the bullying that we inflict on an LGBTQ youth and the violence that so many trans women experience."

3. Acknowledge society's role.

What's going on here?

"There are a lot of intersecting identities and intersecting oppressions that make that happen..."

Yeah, that's a lot.

But what comes next is next-level.

3. Acknowledge the trauma that *likely* led the bully to this place.

YES. This was a leap for me personally, but once I made it across the "Sea of Incredulity and Doubting" and onto "Compassion and Curiosity Island" (#metaphors), there was no. going. back.

"And I believe that a lot of black folks feel that there's this historic emasculation that has been happening in white supremacy of black male bodies."

Wait for it...

4. Empathize.

*This is a great part.*

"I have love. I have so much love for my black brothers and sisters, who might call me out on the street because I get it. I understand. They're in pain."

"I think whenever someone needs to call out someone else for who they are and make fun of them, it's because they don't feel comfortable with who they are. And so, anyone ever has a problem with someone else, I ask you to look at yourselves first. What is it about you that you have a problem with? What is it about you that you have a problem with?"

5. Be revolutionary ... and promote LOVE.

"We hear the gay slurs, the anti-gay slurs, and it's really about these kids not conforming to the sex that they were assigned at birth. Their gender expression is not meeting the expectations of society."

So what do we do?

Yass.

For more wisdom and emotions and realness, press play and listen to Laverne.

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

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