Actress is ‘the queen of breaking barriers’

Harold Lopez/Panther Press

Harold López/Staff Writer

Laverne Cox removed her prison uniform and strutted the halls of Panther Territory this past Tuesday, April 11.

Cox visited the University as the guest speaker for SGC-BBC’s Lecture Series as part of her “Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey Through Womanhood” tour.

“She has a really powerful message. Not only is her message really strong for people in the LGBTQ community, but her message of acceptance, being yourself and being content with you can help students grow,” said Jamie Adelson, SGA-BBC director of lectures.

The lecture series occurs at least once each academic year and has had guests such as Tia Mowry, Candy Crowley and Mayim Bialik to name a few.

“We create a survey with different people that the lecture’s committee and I choose. We distribute the survey to the students and keep looking at the results. I go to my director and we see how that person’s schedule works with ours, because we have a representative with Kepler,” said Adelson.

The Wolfe University Center at FIU had over 200 students and community members anticipating the arrival of the queen of breaking barriers.

Adelson opened the event with a brief introduction on the actress and activist.

Cox had her breakthrough performance as Sophia Burset on the Netflix television series “Orange Is the New Black.” She has earned a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for the role as the first openly transgender person.

“If you are a transgender person in America, you are part of a group that is deeply shamed, stigmatized, criminalized, objectified, treated as if your identity does not exist,” said Cox at the event.

She spoke about her evolution and about how it was like being raised in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Cox also talked about being bullied throughout her entire school career, being called “too feminine,” and the f-word , an offensive term that in the LGBTQ community.

In New York City, Cox had her a-ha moment where she finally understood and accepted herself and made the transition to become a woman.

“I didn’t associate being transgender with being successful. When I moved to New York City I met real-life transgender people, I got to know them as people. Literally all the misconceptions of who transgender people were melted away. I was able to accept them and ultimately myself,” Cox told the audience.

Macielle Betances, a public relations major, was touched by Laverne’s message of love, the importance of self-love and how it can go a long way to happiness.

“We have to move from a shaming society to an empathetic society. A society who has a need to learn about people who are different from what someone may be considered ‘normal’ and has the capability to be empathetic,”

Nicholas Almeida, a digital media student had an eye-opening experience to the issues that face the transgender community after attending the lecture.

“I learned about unconditional love. I learned to appreciate a person for who they are and not what they look like.”

Cox continues to spread the love nationwide using the hashtag #TransIsBeautiful and encourages everyone to use it to shine that light on the transgender community.

You can catch Cox reprise her role as Sophia in season 5 of “Orange Is the New Black” set to premiere on Netflix on June 9.


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