Trans Actress Set to Speak in San Francisco
Laverne Cox, an actress who has made a name for herself in the LGBTQ community and beyond in recent months, will be speaking in San Francisco next week, where she’ll draw from her own story as an African American transwoman from a working class background to discuss how the intersections of race, class, and gender shape the life experiences of trans women of color.
Cox will be appearing at the Nourse Theater in an event sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies Wednesday, March 19. Her talk is entitled, "Ain’t I A Woman? My Journey to Womanhood with Laverne Cox."
An Alabama native who was raised by a single mother, Cox is best known for her compelling role in the successful Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," set to return for a second season this summer. Cox plays Sophia Burset, a transwoman incarcerated for credit card fraud and the prison’s hairdresser, a character Cox herself calls "beautifully complicated."
Recognizing the opportunity to leverage her media visibility, Cox is in the midst of a college lecture tour that positions her own story as a backdrop to larger issues faced by the transgender community.
"I am telling my story through an intersectional lens," Cox told the Bay Area Reporter in an email. "It’s essential that those who are most marginalized within the trans community have a voice to tell their stories. Working class, poor, and trans people of color are largely silenced; those are the folks we need to hear from the most because they experience multiple intersections of oppression."
Cox moved to New York City to attend college and pursue an acting career, and in 2008, she became the first African American transwoman to appear on a reality television show: VH1’s "I Want to Work for Diddy," which won the 2009 GLAAD media award for outstanding reality program, an honor that Cox accepted at the GLAAD ceremony on behalf of the show.