Laverne Cox encourages authenticity

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Margaret Ekblom, Senior Writer

“Orange Is the New Black” actress and LGBTQ activist Laverne Cox discussed how her personal experiences have inspired her career and activism during her lecture on Jan. 22 in the Weis Center. She discussed topics including social change and the impact she’s made on society.  Many students gathered in the Weis Center to hear the  star’s powerful message on being a minority.

“Having Laverne Cox on Bucknell’s campus was incredible. I feel like her message of living authentically and rising above had an important impact on everyone that night,” Turner Stulting ’16, who introduced Cox, said.

Despite drawing an audience of “Orange Is the New Black” fans, Cox focused primarily on the issues of being a transgender, African American woman growing up in Alabama and now living in New York. She explained the troubles she went through growing up in the Deep South, where being a homosexual was not only frowned upon by society, but also uncommon and hard for her family to understand.

Cox explained how she worked hard in her studies to attend the Alabama School of Fine Arts and found her passion for dance and acting there. According to Cox, her mother found ballet to be “too gay,” though she credits dance for helping her through difficult times. She recounted being bullied and feeling as if she did not fit in, and she related her emotional experiences to many students.

“I was thrilled at the turn out of the event as well, and I am grateful that she was able to reach that many people in our community,” Stulting said.

Cox repeated the phrase, “Ain’t I a woman,” throughout her lecture, noting that this phrase helped anchor her during difficult times. She also quoted Judith Butler by saying, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” a statement that many members of the audience greeted with applause.

“Having Laverne Cox talk about all the challenges she’s overcome as a transgender woman was so inspiring. She is an incredible person and we can all learn from her courage,” Catherine Orientale ’17 said.

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