CWU News

Actress and Equal Rights Advocate Brings her Message to CWU

Actress and equal rights advocate Laverne Cox is bringing her message to CWU where she’ll deliver her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 18 in the SURC Ballroom.

Cox stars in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black where she plays the role of Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman. Cox is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream TV show. She’s also a leader of the trans movement, urging audiences throughout the United States to move beyond gender expectations and live authentically.

In August, Campus Pride named CWU one of the top 50 LGBT-friendly universities in the nation. The university’s Center for Diversity and Social Justice, which helped CWU earn its LGBT-friendly designation, invited Cox to campus.

During her presentation, Cox will talk about her road to womanhood: from her Christian home in Mobile, Alabama to her life today as an actress and advocate for gender-variant people.

Cox’s appearance at CWU is two days before the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which recognizes those killed based on prejudice and hatred of gender-variant people. On November 20, communities around the world will mark the annual observance with candlelight vigils that involve reading the names of the victims killed in the past year.

In May, Cox was the first trans person featured on the cover of Time magazine. In July she was the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy for her role in Orange is the New Black. In April, Cox received a GLAAD Media Award for promoting equality.

Admission to her talk at CWU is free for students and $5 for general admission. Tickets are required and available online. For more information contact the Center for Diversity and Social Justice at 509-963-2122 or

November 14, 2014