WXOU talks with “Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox

Story by: Assistant Program Director, Haylie Presnell and News Director Erin Ben-Moche


Actress and activist, Laverne Cox, came to give a lecture at Oakland University last night.

A large crowd filed into the O’Rena, to see one of the breakout stars of Orange is the New Black speak about the experiences she had on her journey as a transgender woman. She strut with confidence to the moderate audience that sat in wait for her before speaking about the intersections in her life – how not only did she face challenges as a woman, but as an African-American transgender woman.

To emphasize transgender struggles, Cox explained the shocking statistics about the violence that happens within the transgender community every year. She would return to this subject multiple times in her speech demonstrating her passion for it.

Cox went into detail about her early life pre-transition, including the bullying she faced when she went to school in Mobile, Alabama. She exuded a sense of strength as she described her being taunted, along with her account of her suicide attempt after the death of her grandmother. The speech took a lighter turn as Cox reminisced on leaving Alabama for New York to attend Marymount Manhattan College and all the inspiring transgender people she befriended there. It was after she met her friend and mentor Tina Sparkles, that she felt that her gender expression was “special”, not something negative and began her hormone treatments on her journey to becoming a woman.

Watch the whole interview here: https://vimeo.com/141925396