From Twin Brother to Sister

Pride Lecturer Laverne Cox talks about her journey

Laverne Cox is an actress, producer, transgender, transgender advocate – and a star in the new wave of internet-based television.

Cox, who portrays Sophia Burset, a transgender character in the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black,” will share her story as the Pride Lecture keynote speaker at “Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood” on Nov. 5 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In her role as Sophia, Cox plays an incarcerated transgender woman hairstylist. “Laverne Cox gives an amazing performance as trans inmate, Sophia … among the most moving on-screen moments I’ve seen all year,” said Maureen Ryan of the Huffington Post.

Cox’s twin brother, musician M. Lamar, appeared in “Orange” in a flashback scene as Laverne prior to her transition. According to Cox, her brother has been supportive of her change.

In 2013, she was named one of the most influential transgender people in America in the “Trans 100,” as well as one of the top 50 icons by the Huffington Post. Committed to serving as an advocate for the transgender population, Cox lends her voice to the cause of transgender visibility and equality.

Cox is the first African American transgender woman to produce and star in her television show, “TRANSform Me.” The VH1 show was nominated for a GLAAD media award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2011. In 2008, she was the first African American trans woman to appear on a reality show, I Want to Work for Diddy.”

Cox has had guest starring roles on “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: SVU” and HBO’s “Bored to Death.” She can be seen in the independent film “Musical Chairs,” directed by Susan Seidelman.

The Pride Lecture, sponsored by the Division of Diversity & Inclusion, is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the UMKC Atterbury Student Success Center, Pierson Auditorium, 5100 Rockhill Rd. Free parking is available in the Cherry Street Parking Garage, 50th & Cherry Street, Area 32N on levels five and six only.

The Pride Lecture series was established to create programming celebrating UMKC’s LGBTQIA and allied students, faculty and staff, with an inclusive vision of the community in which we reside.


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