Laverne Cox has spoken out on social media after she and her friend were subjected to a transphobic attack while taking a walk in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park on Saturday. The Orange is the New Black actress said she’s in shock and triggered because of the attack, before going on to recount what happened to her 4.4 million followers.
Cox said she and her friend were walking through the park when a man “very aggressively” asked them for the time. “My friend who I’m with tells him the time—looks at his watch and tells him the time—and then the guy who had asked for the time says to my friend, ‘Guy or girl?’ My friend says, ‘Fuck off.'”
The man then violently attacked Cox’s friend. “I’m walking, I’m hearing all this is happening in a split second, and then all of a sudden the guy is attacking my friend, and I look back and I’m like ‘What is happening?’ The guy is like hitting my friend, and then my friend is going towards him and I’m like ‘Holy shit!’ and I pull out my phone and I call to dial 911, and all of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone,” she said.
“The guy really wanted me to answer [when he asked for the time] so that he could spook whether I’m trans or not,” Cox continued. “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? Who cares? How does this affect your life?”
“It never fails to be shocking, I guess. This has happened to me before, it’s happened many times, it’s not new. I’ve been trans my whole life, I’ve been harassed and bullied my whole life, none of this is new.”
In November alone at least 39 trans or gender non-conforming people have been murdered in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign. “It’s not safe in the world. And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth,” Cox said. “It’s the truth and it’s not safe if you’re a trans person. Obviously, I know this well. It’s just really sad.”
Cox finished her video by urging her followers not to blame themselves when subjected to transphobia. “It’s important for me to remind myself and remind you that when these things happen, it’s not your fault,” she explained. “It’s not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world. It was not my friend’s fault, it was not my fault that this happened. We have a right to walk in the park.”