Actress Laverne Cox speaks at Purdue on March 26

February 25, 2014  

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Actress Laverne Cox, who currently appears in the Netflix television series "Orange is the New Black" as an incarcerated African-American transgender woman, will speak March 26 at Purdue University as part of the Purdue LGBTQ Center's Distinguished Lecture Series.

The 7 p.m. talk, "Laverne Cox – Ain't I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood," is in Loeb Playhouse. It is free and open to the public.

Cox, who also is a writer and producer, is the first trans African-American woman to have a leading role on a mainstream, scripted television show.

She is a recipient of the Dorian Rising Star award and was named one of the 100 most influential trans people in America in the inaugural Trans 100. The Trans 100 recognizes transgender people engaged in work to improve the lives of trans people, its website says.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to bring such an influential speaker to Purdue," said Lowell Kane, director of Purdue's LGBTQ Center. "Laverne is a strong advocate for equality. She draws from her own story of growing up in Alabama, being raised by a single mother in a Christian family, and attending college in New York City to pursue a career as an actress. She tells the story of the unique challenges along her journey to womanhood, professional achievement, self-acceptance and love."

In 2013 Cox won best supporting actress at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for her work in "Musical Chairs." Her other acting credits include "Law and Order," "Law and Order: SVU," HBO's "Bored to Death," and the films "Carla" and "The Exhibitionists."

Cox is the first trans African-American woman to produce and star in her own TV show, VH1's "TRANSForm Me." She has written articles that have appeared in The Advocate and The Huffington Post.

The event is being coordinated by the Purdue LGBTQ Center, with support from the Purdue University Division of Diversity and Inclusion; Purdue 360: All Perspectives; Purdue Student Union Board; Purdue Black Cultural Center; Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence; Delta Lambda Phi; Gamma Rho Lambda; NOGLSTP@Purdue; Purdue LGBTQ Student Alliance; Krannert Outsource; Pride Lafayette, Inc.; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; and Trans Lafayette. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-90711, 

Source: Lowell Kane, 765-496-6231,

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