Opinions, Editorials

Cancelled Cox Speech Still Demonstrates Strong Effort

This past Tuesday, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College announced that Laverne Cox, transgender actress and LGBTQ advocate, would be speaking at BC on Feb. 15. Cox plays Sophia Burset on the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black. A day after this announcement, the talk was cancelled by Cox, due to a conflict with a movie she is filming this spring. The talk was meant to revolve around the experiences of a transgender woman and the effects of race, class, and gender. Despite the ultimate cancellation of the event, there are still a number of positive aspects demonstrated by the booking of the event itself.

UGBC organized the talk. Nick Minieri, chair of UGBC’s GLBTQ Leadership Council and CSOM ’16, was responsible for first devising the idea and then pursuing it alongside Afua Laast, UGBC vice president of diversity and inclusion and LSOE ’16.

Cox would have been one of the biggest speakers UGBC has ever brought to campus. She has become very well-known through Orange is the New Black and has become a highly sought-after LGTBQ advocate and speaker. Five Jesuit universities have already hosted Cox—(Marquette University, University of Loyola Chicago, Saint Louis University, and Canisius College)—making UGBC’s successful booking even more impressive. It is clear that the process behind organizing this event was not easy and that a considerable amount of work went into it. Minieri, Laast, and UGBC as a whole deserve commendation for putting in the necessary effort to secure a speaker who would attract a great many listeners, while also promoting the transgender discussion they have been presenting for some time.

By organizing the talk, UGBC and its co-sponsors—the Women’s Center, the Campus Activities Board, the Thea Bowman AHANA Intercultural Center, and the African and African diaspora studies department—demonstrated strong efforts in their various campaigns to increase LGBTQ inclusivity. Although the talk was unfortunately canceled, the initial success in having secured her booking is a hopeful sign that these groups will be able to achieve future results in their various projects, like GLC’s attempt to add a gender-identity section to BC’s Non-Discriminatory Policy.

The event was expected to sell out, illustrating the campus-wide interest in Cox and predicting the success of those who have worked to bring the event to fruition. Although many are disappointed by the unexpected cancellation, it remains important to remember that the cancellation was prompted by Cox and the efforts that went into securing the talk in the first place are still worth commendation.

The people and organizations involved in booking this talk contributed greatly to campus LGBTQ equality efforts and showed a great deal of effort. In working with the administration to secure this talk, they have demonstrated a commitment to their various ideals. Hopefully, the time, money, and effort that went into securing this talk can now be used for something equally as impressive.

Featured Image by Richard Shotwell / AP Photo 

January 27, 2016