Laverne Cox sees this as a best of times, worst of times moment for transgender people.
"We've never ever been more visible than we are right now and yet we are under attack by this administration," she told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
The Trump administration has moved to revoke newly won health care protections for transgender people, restrict their presence in the military, and withdraw federal guidance that trans students should be able to use bathrooms of their choice.
The "Orange is the New Black" co-star said she has no plans to slow down as an activist for her transgender community now that the Netflix series has reached its end.
"There's so many things to celebrate right now, and then there's so many things to mourn and to grieve over and to be in pain over and to fight for at the same time," she said.
In 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 violent deaths of transgender people in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign. Most were black transgender women. So far this year, at least 13 transgender people have been killed by violence in the U.S., the advocacy group reports.
Cox said she's been motivated since childhood to do work "that makes it better for people who follow me." She recalled a black history picture book filled with African American leaders and artists that her mother gave her when she was 5 or 6.
She was obsessed with the soprano Leontyne Price.
"I thought how amazing would it be to have my work as an artist change the world in some way for people who may follow me," Cox said.
She cited a growing list of working trans actors: Indya Moore, MJ Rodriguez, Angelica Ross, Hailie Sahar, Dominique Jackson, Asia Kate Dillon, Amiyah Scott and Hari Neff among them.
"We are everywhere," Cox said. "We've always been there."