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‘Orange is the New Black’ actress to be featured at LGBTQI event

Sep. 20, 2013, 9:50 AM

Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset, an incarcerated transgender woman of color on the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, will be the featured speaker as part of this year’s National Coming Out Week events at Vanderbilt University. Cox will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the Student Life Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Office of LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt.

With her role on Orange is the New Black, Cox is the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television series. She is also the first transgender woman of color to produce and star in her own television show, VH1’s critically acclaimed TRANSForm Me. Cox was recognized as the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival’s 2013 Best Supporting Actress and has been nominated for various GLAAD Media Awards. She also has been featured in roles on Law and OrderLaw and Order: SVU and Bored to Death and in the independent films Carla and The Exhibitionists.

In her speech “Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood,” Cox explores how the intersections of race, class and gender uniquely affect the lives of transgender women of color. She draws from her experience growing up in Mobile, Ala., and being raised by a single mother in a Christian family, attending college in New York City, pursuing a career as an actress and finding the courage to step into womanhood. Cox tells the story of the unique challenges along her journey to womanhood, professional achievement, self-acceptance and love.

Paid parking for the event will be available in West Garage. Vanderbilt University policy stipulates that all minors must be accompanied by an adult.

The full schedule of National Coming Out Week events includes a Safe Zone Workshop, a movie screening and the annual LAMBDA Drag Show. For more information about these events, visit the LGBTQI Life website.

Contact: Stephen Loveless, (615) 322-3330