Lavern Cox will give a lecture on gender perspectives at Chumash auditorium on Thursday as part of Inclusive Excellence Week. | Creative Commons

Annie Vainshtein
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You may her know as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series, “Orange Is The New Black.”

Laverne Cox, transgender actress and LGBTQIA activist, will give a lecture on gender perspectives at Chumash Auditorium as part of Inclusive Excellence Week.

The Gender Equity Center will also host a gallery in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) in conjunction with Cox’s speech. It will take place from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. as part of the center’s Don’t Put Me in a Box campaign.

The event will be a great starting point for discussion and change, Pride Center coordinator Adam Serafin said.

“Generally, what we see in our campus community is that there’s a lack of knowledge around trans issues,” he said. “Folks are coming around and learning more about sexual orientation, but there’s still a large learning curve surrounding gender identity.”

Serafin stressed the importance of separating different issues in the LGBTQIA community.

“Different identities have different challenges they face on a daily basis,” he said. “As a campus, there’s more and more people focusing on gender identity, but we have a long ways to go.”

Serafin said the event represents a positive trajectory on Cal Poly’s part to create more awareness surrounding gender identity issues.

“I think there’s been more and more conversations on campus in terms of supporting people of all gender identities,” he said. “Whether it’s policies or facilities, there’s some clubs on campus that are doing some great work.”

While Cal Poly has a lot left to learn, Cox’s lecture will hopefully get the university on its way, Serafin said.

The event is free for all students with a Polycard, though seating will be limited. In the case of overflow, the speech will also be available via live stream in the UU. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

A reception with drinks and snacks will follow a Q&A with Laverne from 9 to 10 p.m.

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