Laverne Cox, the actress and transgender activist, said she and a friend were targeted in a transphobic attack in a Los Angeles park over the weekend.
In an Instagram video, Cox said she was walking with her friend in Griffith Park on Saturday when a man approached them and "aggressively" asked for the time. "The friend that I'm with looks at his watch and tells him the time, and then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend: 'Guy or girl?'" Cox said. "My friend says, 'F--- off.'"
"All of a sudden," Cox said, the man began physically attacking her friend. Cox then called 911 but the man had already fled the scene, so she put her phone away.
"The guy really wanted me to answer so that he could spook whether I'm trans or not," Cox said. "I don't know why, I don't know why it matters. At the end of the day, it's like who cares? I'm in a hoodie and yoga pants, I'm completely covered up, I've got my mask on - who cares if I'm trans? How does this affect your life?"
Well-known for her role in the Netflix series "Orange Is The New Black," Cox has spent her time in the spotlight advocating for transgender equality and acceptance. While the actress said the incident left her "in shock" and "triggered," she related her own incident to the widespread violence that transgender individuals face in American on daily basis.
"I think it's important for me to remind myself and remind you that when these things happen, it's not your fault," Cox said. "It's not your fault that there are people who are not cool with you existing in the world. It was not my friend's fault, it's not my fault that this happened. We have a right to walk in the park."
In a follow-up video, Cox on Monday said the incident reminded her of bullying she received as a young child, something she calls "a long history" of being shamed. However, she thanked her followers and friends for the support she received for being open about the attack.
According to the National Transgender Center for Equality, more than one in four trans people have faced a bias-driven assault and rates are higher for trans women and trans people of color. 2020 was one of the in the U.S. for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. At least 29 transgender and gender non-conforming individuals have been killed this year, a number that hasn't been seen since 2017, according to data from Everytown for Gun Safety.
"It doesn't matter who you are," Cox said. "You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you're trans... You're going to experience stuff like this."
for more features.