In an Instagram post over the weekend, actress and activist Laverne Cox revealed that she had been a victim of a transphobic attack in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. “We are fine,” she wrote in her caption. “Be careful out there.”
In the video, Cox relayed the story, saying that on Saturday, Nov. 28, she and a friend (who Cox said she would prefer to keep anonymous) were going for a “socially distanced walk” in the park, when a man approached them and “aggressively asked for the time.” Cox’s friend checked their watch to tell the man what time it was.
“My friend that I’m with 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?'” she recalled. “My friend says, ‘F— off.’ I’m walking and hearing all of this — it happened in a split second. And then all of a sudden, the guy is attacking my friend … the guy was hitting my friend.”
Cox went on to explain that she promptly called 911 to get authorities on the scene, but as soon as she did, the fight had ended, and “the guy was gone.”
The Orange is the New Black star said that looking back, it was clear that the man who attacked her friend was trying to determine whether or not Cox was trans.
The star said this is far from the first time she’s been harassed in public about her gender identity. “It’s happened to me a lot,” she said, with a chuckle. “It doesn’t always come to blows … but yeah, I have a whole history, if any of you have heard my story, I have a long history of street harassment in New York, of being clocked or spooked or called out on the street.”
The actress then went on to point out how her story is just yet another example of violence being perpetrated against trans people on a daily basis. “It’s not safe in the world,” she said. “I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth and it’s not safe if you’re a trans person. Obviously I know this well.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 39 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been violently murdered in 2020, making this year one of the deadliest on record for transgender and gender n0n-conforming people everywhere.
“It doesn’t matter who you are,” Cox said in her video. “You can be, like, Laverne Cox, whatever that means. If you’re trans, you’re going to experience stuff like this.”
In the comments under her video, Cox received support from many celebrities, including Indya Moore, Kerry Washington, Lee Daniels, Peppermint, Niecy Nash and many more. “I HATE you and your friend were subjected to this violence,” actress Robin Thede said in the comments. “You deserve BETTER.”
Watch Cox’s full account of what happened here.