By Keiko Lane
We were on our feet long before Laverne Cox walked onto the stage. Karim Baer, Director of Public Programs & Performances, introduced the evening, shouting out the LGBTQI organizations that helped with the event. He told us who was in the theater with us, and who had tried to be in the theater with us: an activist in London who had heard about the event and raised funds to ensure that young trans people who might not otherwise be able to attend, could, and two trans activists from Sudan who couldn’t get visas. “We’ll get them here next time,” Baer promised.
“As a university, one of the things that we want to do is use arts and ideas to promote change,” Baer continued. “We wanted to honor Laverne, and what better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than by hosting Laverne Cox.”
The audience of 1,200 cheered. Then we quieted long enough for him to introduce Theresa Sparks, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and the first trans woman named “Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly.
“We need to change the public’s perception of how they see us and who we are,” said Sparks. “Media is the most powerful way to do this. We need strong voices, courageous spokespeople—and we need them to be visible. Laverne Cox is one of those individuals emerging as our face, our voice, and our very integrity.” >>> FULL ARTICLE