Jan. 29, 2018

Gender Identity Group Project: Laverne Cox

Meg, Katie, and Nicole

Laverne Cox is a well known transgender woman and actress who always knew she was destined to be a performer since a young age. She is originally from Mobile, Alabama and was a dance major at Indiana university, yet later transferred to Marymount Manhattan College. Discovering her passion for the arts, Cox also came to terms with who she is and underwent surgery to become a woman the year after graduating college. This propelled her acting career as she was mainly cast for transgender roles. Cox is a huge advocator for the LGBTQ community and continues to change gender stereotypes through her work as an actress.

Towards the beginning of her life, Laverne Cox did not feel comfortable with being open about her identity. Going through college she performed and participated in drag shows, even though she did not necessarily identify as a drag queen. She described this as “an outlet for my desire to perform.” She usually auditioned for trans roles and was most successful with these roles. Although she auditioned for these roles, she did not disclose that she was trans. At this point in her life, she still had shame around being trans, but this shame lifted in 2007 when Candis Cayne inspired to her. Candis Cayne, a transgender actor, was openly identifying as a transgender, all while being successful and thriving. At this moment, she believed that it was possible for one to be openly trans and have a career. Once she realized this, she began blossomed into a successful actress and she was truly comfortable with being transgender.

Today, Laverne Cox stays fighting for important social issues. She is an advocate for equal rights and carries the message of “looking beyond gender expectations to live more authentically”. Cox advocacy for social issues has won her Glamour magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, one of The Grio’s 100 Most Influential African Americans, one of the Top 50 Trans Icons by the Huffington Post, and the Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project. Additionally, Cox is an Emmy nominated actress for her role in Orange Is The New Black. In this role Cox made history by being “the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show.” Moreover, Cox continues to be a leader in the transgender community, inspiring others to be their most authentic self.


“About Bio ⋆ Laverne Cox.” Laverne Cox, www.lavernecox.com/about/.

“Laverne Cox Interview: Orange Is the New Black Star On Being Trans.” Time, Time,


Jan. 26, 2018

Meaning of Name Assignment:

My name is Nicole Michelle Lianto. My parents named me Nicole simply because they were watching a movie with Nicole Kidman and they figured it was a nice name. Michelle is my mom’s first name; they gave me the middle name of Michelle because I was the first born child. My mom got her name from the Beatles song, Michelle. My grandpa was a big fan of theirs. Lianto is my dad’s last name. Lianto is not our true last name, but I don’t really know the story well enough to tell it. Technically my last name should be Lee. I have never been embarrassed of my name. I think it’s because my name is quite common and quite easy to say/pronounce. I have never changed my name or adopted a new name. I have had nicknames though, such as Nikki or Nik. I really only get called these names by family or close friends. I used to prefer Nikki, but as I got older, I began to like Nicole more.

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