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Laverne Cox to speak at ISU this February

“Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox will be coming to speak at ISU on Feb. 12 and 13.

Cox will serve as the University Program Board’s guest speaker at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Bone Student Center’s Braden Auditorium, which is free and open to all students and staff.

The following day, she will speak at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) opening ceremony. Those who wish to attend the conference will need to register ahead of time online at mblgtace2015.org.

The wildly popular Netflix original series tells the story of Piper Chapman, a woman sentenced for a 10-year-old crime. It is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. The show was recently renewed for a third season.

Cox’s character is Sophia Burset, a transgender African-American woman who is imprisoned with the rest of the female inmates.

UPB and the 2015 MBLGTACC have teamed up and are working together to make Cox’s appearance happen on campus.

From Mobile, Ala., Cox is currently a producer in addition to being an actress. She is widely known for her roles in “The Exhibitionists” and “Musical Chairs.” She is also a spokesperson for the transgender movement: her inspiring messages and perceptions have been shared on ABC, CNN, VH1 and countless other networks throughout the country.

Known for her speaking skills, Cox received the GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award for being an advocate for the transgender community in April 2014. She has also spoken out against the issue of bullying in interviews and has spoken at many universities on the subject as an LGBT activist.

UPB is sponsoring the Thursday event, along with ISU’s Department of Psychology, School of Social Work, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the President.

“It’s just a different program than we’ve done before and obviously she’s a big name,” UPB vice president Kelsy Brewer said.

“This event will help bring diversity to campus and we’re hoping to expand on that,” Brewer explained.

Contact UPB at (309) 438-8814 for more information.

(MCT Campus Photo) Laverne Cox, who plays a transgender woman in prison on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, will be visiting ISU this February.

(MCT Campus Photo) Laverne Cox, who plays a transgender woman in prison on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, will be visiting ISU this February.

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