Laverne Cox, the actress from the addicting prison series Orange Is the New Black, encompasses nearly every historically marginalized or oppressed group at once: She's an African American, transgender female. As the first transgender performer to be nominated for an Emmy, her unlikely success story landed her on the cover of Time magazine last year.
Radiant, with triumphant poise and an air of humbly heroic wisdom, Cox sashayed into the UNT auditorium like Beyoncé, her blonde hair flowing as if thanks to an invisible wind machine. Cox is a powerful combination of celebrity and role model, and she was received by a standing ovation. The diverse crowd included a disproportionate amount of students with crazy-colored hair, some transgender, all happy misfits. Expectant energy filled the room. Cox is travelling the country delivering her lecture "Ain't I A Woman?" which speaks to her experience, and delivers a message full of humor and hope.
Her timing couldn't be more perfect. The recent speculation as to Bruce Jenner's gender transformation is what ultimately "broke the Internet," not stepdaughter Kim Kardashian's nude magazine cover. In a year where other famed TV dads had shocking allegations of rape and pedophilia brought against them (think Bill Cosby and Stephen Collins) the gossip surrounding Bruce Jenner's identity seemed to somehow take the colossal cake. It's a clear reminder that, for the general public, an alleged sex-change still rouses a far more intrusive interest than an alleged sex crime.More »