Laverne Cox ‘in shock’ after transphobic attack: ‘It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s not safe if you’re a trans person’

Laverne Cox addresses the camera

Laverne Cox and her friend were targeted by a transphobe Saturday (28 November) while walking in a Los Angeles, California, park – an attack which has left the star rattled.

The Orange Is the New Black star explained in an Instagram Live video uploaded shortly after the incident that she and a friend, who she preferred to keep anonymous, were out in Griffith Park for a socially-distanced walk when a man reacted “aggressively” and asked them what the time was.

“The friend that I’m with looks at his watch and tells him the time,” she said, “and then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend: ‘Guy or girl?’ My friend says: ‘F**k off.'”

That’s when the man proved combative, she said, as he proceeded to attack Cox’s pal. Swinging punches at him, Cox jumped on her mobile to dial 911 “and all of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone”.


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Laverne Cox: ‘It’s not safe if you’re a trans person’

In the 10-minute-long video, Cox concluded that the man was trying to get her to answer when he asked for the time.

“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?”

“It’s not safe in the world. And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it’s the truth.

“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.”

She added: “Obviously, this is my life. I’ve dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking.

“It doesn’t matter who you are. You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you’re trans… you’re going to experience stuff like this.”

Cox, the first openly trans person to be nominated for an acting Emmy, ended the video by imploring her followers not to blame themselves if something similar happens to them.

“When these things happen, it’s not your fault,” she said. “It’s not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world. We have a right to walk in the park.”

Anti-trans violence is rocketing in the US

Transphobic hate crime in the US has ballooned across the four years of the Trump administration, activists and monitoring groups say. This wave of violence has prompted heightened vigilance and fear among trans people, with at least 39 slain in the US this year – the worst year since records began.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

LGBT protesters on the Transgender Day of Remembrance in West Hollywood, 2006. (Hector Mata/AFP/Getty)

But such a figure, already sobering and startlingly high, fails to grasp the full extent of the “epidemic” of violence against trans people, according to the American Medical Association.

Data provided by law enforcement officials are often incomplete, with victims misgendered or deadnamed, and many crimes go completely unreported, the medical body said.

Even without a centralised database, activists have said with alarming confidence that hostility against trans people has increased, with people seemingly emboldened by Trump’s anti-trans policy attacks to commit acts of violence.