Trans actress Laverne Cox was the victim of a violent transphobic assault in Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The star of Orange is the New Black revealed in an Instagram Live video she was walking with an unidentified male friend when they were subjected to transphobic hate speech from the alleged assailant, who then began to throw punches at Cox’s friend when told to “f*ck off.” The attacker fled when Cox pulled out her phone and started to dial 911.
“It’s not safe if you’re a trans person,” Cox said. “And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it’s the truth.”
According to Cox, she and her friend were walking through Griffith Park on Saturday, wearing masks and practicing responsible social distancing, when they were approached by a man “looking for trouble” because Cox “happened to be a trans person in public.” He asked for the time, then asked her friend if the Emmy-nominated actress was a “guy or girl?” When her friend told the transphobic man to “f*ck off,” he was immediately hit with a flurry of punches. The attacker fled once Cox pulled out her phone to called the police.
“The guy really wanted me to answer so that he could spook whether I’m trans or not,” Cox revealed. “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?”
Initially, Cox started blaming herself before she realized she had done nothing wrong.
“I think it's important to remind myself and remind you that when these things happen, it's not your fault,” she said. “It's not your fault that there are people not cool with you existing in the world.”
Cox and her friend were not physically injured, but Cox indicated this type of harassment and assault was nothing new to her.
“I've dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking, I guess,” she revealed, adding “I've been harassed and bullied my whole life.”