Laverne Cox to speak at Penn State Behrend on Dec. 9

In the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” Laverne Cox’s character, Sophia Burset, is a victim of transmisogyny from other characters.

It’s not an unfamiliar role for Cox considering it’s something she has been subjected to in her own life as well. 

Cox, the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, will discuss her life story when the 2014-15 Speaker Series resumes at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, on Tuesday, Dec. 9. Her presentation, “Ain't I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Junker Center and is free and open to the public.

Cox received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. The character was also named the fourth most influential fictional character by TIME in 2013.

Cox has written about transgender rights for a number of publications, including The Huffington Post. She sees the Burset character as a platform to educate the public about transgender issues.

“If the character is written like the way Sophia is written, as a multi-dimensional character who the audience can really empathize with, all of the sudden they’re empathizing with a real trans person,” said Cox in a November 2013 interview. “And for trans folks out there, who need to see representations of people who are like them and of their experiences, that’s when it becomes really important.”

Cox’s appearance at Penn State Behrend is made possible by the campus' Student Activity Fee, the Division of Student Affairs and the Harriet Behrend Ninow Memorial Lecture Series Fund. For additional information, contact the Office of Student Activities at 814-898-6171.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015