Angelica Ross visited the University of Wisconsin Tuesday for the inaugural Gender and Sexuality Campus Center‘s inaugural Trailblazer Talk, “Miss Ross LIVE! A Conversation with Angelica Ross,” organized in collaboration with the Black History Month Planning Committee.

Ross, a native Wisconsinite, is an actress, entrepreneur and advocate for racial and transgender equality, according to her website. She created TransTech Social Enterprises to help empower and employ LGBTQ+ people, and specifically transgender people, in the technology industry.

Ross was a regular on Season Nine of “American Horror Story” and “Pose,” which had the biggest transgender cast for a scripted series, according to her website. She was also the first transgender woman to play a lead role on Broadway in “Chicago.”

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In her talk, Ross discussed her identity as a transgender woman.

“I may happen to be trans, but I’m a human rights advocate,” Ross said. “I’m just doing what everybody else should be doing — being an advocate for human rights.”

When asked how to become someone significant from a small Wisconsin town, Ross said everyone is already someone great, but should remain open-minded, bringing a fresh and passionate perspective.

Ross emphasized how important it is for people to value themselves and their time and energy, especially when it comes to educating others about societal inequities.

“You don’t try to convince anybody of anything,” Ross said. “Sometimes, you have to let people experience things from a distance… but you don’t have to fight. Standing for something, absolutely. Fighting, not necessarily.”

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Ross spoke about being from Racine, Wisconsin, and dealing with the lack of understanding and small-mindedness she experienced.

Ross discussed how Racine and Wisconsin needed her to become the person she has become to inspire people to be themselves in spaces with a lack of representation.

Leaving Racine started a period of running from challenges, Ross said, but facing the challenges and having the courage to change despite the loss it may have come with was important.

“Right now, we recognize that our society, our world, not only is changing but needs to change,” Ross said. “People are wondering where the change is going to come from and who is gonna break through all this noise and finally change all the things that need to be changed – you have to be a part of the change.”