Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox to Speak at Mohawk

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By Kyle Williamson, 3rd-year, Journalism

Please note the Laverne Cox at Mohawk event has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 26, 2015.

On March 26, Laverne Cox is coming to Mohawk. With the success of the Netflix original drama Orange is the New Black, Cox has rapidly become a household name. Cox plays inmate Sophia Burset, a sassy prison hairdresser with a complicated family life due to her transition into womanhood.

Her role on Orange is the New Black has earned her a spot in the history books as the first openly transgender woman to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine, and to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. With such feats, she has become a public leader in the trans* movement. Cox has given the fight for trans* equality a face and has inspired hope in this often neglected community.

Laverne CoxCox will be presenting her speech “Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood,” this spring in the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre. Cox explores how the intersections of race, class, and gender uniquely affect the lives of trans* women of color.  Laverne draws from her own history and how issues of race, class, and gender affect how she has been able to navigate the world.

From growing up in Mobile, Alabama and being raised by a single mother in a Christian family, to attending college in New York City to pursue a career as an actress, to finally finding the courage to step into the womanhood she always knew was her destiny, Cox tells the story of the unique challenges along her journey to womanhood, professional achievement, self-acceptance, and love.

Cox’s visit to Hamilton is presented by Mohawk College’s positive space Social Inc., partnered with The Well LGBTQ Wellness Centre and SACHA – Hamilton’s Sexual Assault Centre.

It isn’t every day that Mohawk hosts a major TV star. Former Social Inc. intern Sam Kelly originally pitched having Cox speak at Mohawk to the Positive Space Coordinator, Marco Felvus. Kelly is a trans-identified man, and thought Cox embodied Social Inc.’s motto “draw love and erase hate.”

“The powerful part of his proposal was his passion for wanting to make other trans-identified individuals lives better now, instead of waiting until it gets better with time,” says Felvus.

“I think that transgender people deserve to be spoken about in the manner that she speaks about them,” says Kelly. “She just has such respect for herself and the community, which is super refreshing considering they are often just the butt of jokes (that aren’t really funny).”

“For many people who identify as lesbian or gay, there are not many visible role models, however if you identify as transgendered, there are even fewer,” says Social Inc.’s Felvus. “Laverne Cox has achieved a status in our society where she is true to herself and is able to not only depict a trans woman on national television, but is also able to educate others on the realities of her own life.”

While the topic may be serious, Cox’s witty disposition will be sure to make you laugh. If you haven’t seen Laverne in action, there is still plenty of time to marathon both seasons of Orange is the New Black.

Ticket Information:

VIP ticket: At $75.00, VIP tickets have special reserved seating as well as an invitation to a meet and greet with Cox. Food stations and cocktails will also be available one hour prior to the show.

General Admission Tickets are $35.00 each.

Community Access ticket: At $35.00, purchasing this ticket will support someone who wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear Laverne speak.  Priority will be given to local trans-identified individuals.


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