Laverne Cox, an LGBTQ advocate, producer and Emmy-nominated actress, will speak at Bucknell University on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.
Cox is the second speaker in the Bucknell Forum series Revolution Redefined. Her talk, titled "Ain't I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood," will be followed by a question-and-answer session, as well as a reception in the Weis Center lobby.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Weis Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the night of the event. Individuals will receive up to two free tickets; you must have a ticket to enter. Unoccupied seats will be released at 7:15 p.m.
A public journey
Cox's public journey began when she entered a beauty pageant at New York City's Pyramid Club in Manhattan's East Village.
"I wore a swimsuit for the first time; I wore breasts for the first time," Cox said in her Commencement address at Hampshire College.
When she was finally able to say aloud, "I am transgender," she said it was a relief.
"I feel like it was something I'd been running away from my whole life, something I'd been fighting and trying not to be and trying to negotiate," Cox told The Advocate.
Cox has been open about the challenges she's faced — and continues to face — in her journey. Yet she is taking her place in history with an undeniable grace and style.
"We are in a place now," Cox told TIME, "where more and more trans people want to come forward and say, 'This is who I am.'"
Cox is helping to lead that growing chorus. She is the first trans-woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show: the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Cox earned an Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of the show's incarcerated transgender woman Sophia Burset, who TIME named the fourth most influential character of 2013. She is currently filming the third season.
She was also co-producer and star of her own television show, TRANSForm Me. Out Magazine named her one of its "Out100" in 2003, and The Huffington Post called her one of the country's top 50 trans icons in 2012.
The Bucknell Forum
Since 2007, the Bucknell Forum speaker series has featured nationally renowned leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multidisciplinary and diverse of viewpoints.
Through the voices of renowned agents of change, the current Bucknell Forum series, Revolution Redefined, will explore social change and how it has — or has not — evolved over time, as well as how individuals can grow to become global citizens who make meaningful, lasting impacts on society in a variety of ways.