EV’s Commonwealth Dinner Boasts Guest Spearker Laverne Cox And WaPo Journalist Jonathan Capehart
Equality Virginia is proud to announce trans activist and actress Laverne Cox will appear as the keynote speaker for the 25th Anniversary Commonwealth Dinner in Richmond on April 5th and Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capehart will feature as the event’s emcee.
The Commonwealth Dinner is the largest gala for the LGBTQ community in Virginia, and is proud to be celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Equality Virginia began in 1989 as Virginians for Justice, a group that sought equality for LGBTQ people and worked to educate the public about LGBTQ issues and injustices. Now, Equality is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary at its 11th annual Commonwealth Dinner.
The Commonwealth dinner is held to raise funds for Equality Virginia and to give advocates an opportunity to meet and unite around a common cause. Last year’s dinner featured guest speakers such as Governor Terry McAuliffe and Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker. This year’s dinner will have a silent auction and a post-dinner dance. Equality Virginia compiles this list of members of the LGBTQ community who are both out to the public and “represented the community with distinction.” In 2013, Equality Virginia extended this list to allies of the LGBTQ community.
Laverne Cox is a transgender woman, actress, and activist for transgender rights. Cox is most recently known for her role as Sophia Burset on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. The show, based on a memoir about one woman’s time in federal prison, has other LGBTQ related subplots, but Burset’s is one that is universal—the issues that members of the transgender community face daily. In Burset’s case, this includes the inability to access hormones while in prison, which is harmful to the process of physical transformation.
In an interview with Cox from last year, she told GayRVA most people thought that it was exciting and novel that a transgender person would be in a transgender role, but Cox thought that, in today’s society, this should not have been as big of a deal as it was.
Cox has admitted publicly being transgender is something she has struggled with since high school, saying she was bullied about her gender identity, and could only focus on leaving and getting to New York City. She has also said that societal norms and peer pressure forced her to question her identity in college, but also led to her seeking medical help in order to begin that transitioning process. Now, Laverne uses her fame and personal history to encourage Transgender recognition and equality.
Additionally, Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, openly-gay journalist Jonathan Capehart will be the emcee for the Commonwealth dinner. Capehart won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 while apart of New York Daily News editorial board.
Equality Virginia is excited to be celebrating their 25th Anniversary along with Laverne Cox, Jonathan Capehart, and all of the dedicated supporters of Equality Virginia and the LGBTQ community. For more information about the event, visit Equality Virginia’s website www.equalityvirginia.org
Antony Shipman is a student at Bennington College, and is interning with GayRVA/RVA Mag for the months of January and February. Antony, who is relatively new to the world of journalism, is hoping to learn more about the business by working closely with the staff of GayRVA/RVA Mag. When not at work, Antony is likely to be found giving affection to a cat or sitting in his apartment with a book in his hands.
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