Entertainment

After Transphobic Attack, Laverne Cox Speaks Out, Says It’s Not Safe To Be Trans No Matter Where Or Who You Are

In a gut wrenching Instagram video, Laverne Cox admits something that few of us like to acknowledge: that no matter where or who you are, the world is a dangerous place for transgendered people.

The Instagram post came just days after Cox and a friend were physically attacked while walking in an LA neighborhood. And despite Cox being a popular and well-known figure in the entertainment industry (she’s a major star of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black) and in the LGBTQ community, Cox admits that she’s often afraid for her safety.

Unfortunately, the data backs her up with transgendered individuals being among the most targeted groups for bullying, hate crimes, and even anti-trans legislation.

Laverne Cox and a friend were targeted in a transphobic attack. in Los Angeles.

Transgender people face danger every day, even if they’re famous. And this past weekend, Laverne Cox was the victim of a transphobic attack in Los Angeles. The Orange Is the New Black star opened up about the incident in an Instagram video, telling fans that she is fine but still “in shock” and “super triggered” from the attack that happened over the weekend.

According to Cox, as she and a friend were walking through Griffith Park in Los Angeles, a man approached them to ask what time it was. “The friend who I’m with looks at his watch and tells him the time,” Cox recalled, “and then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend, ‘Guy or girl?'”

The friend, whom Cox wished to keep anonymous, told the man to “fuck off” and was then attacked by the man.

“I’m kind of in shock,” Cox said in the Instagram video. “I’m walking, I’m hearing all of this is happening like in a split second and then all of a sudden the guy is attacking my friend.”

“I pull out my phone and call 911 … All of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone. I put my phone away and I’m like: ‘What just happened?’”

After processing the attack, Cox said she and her friend agreed that he was being aggressive and was trying to figure out whether or not Cox was transgender. “I don’t know why it matters,” she said. “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?”

Sadly – though not surprisingly – this was not the first time Cox has experienced this sort of hatred.

Over the years, the actor has been vocal about how she’s been subject to bullying and transphobia-fueled attacks, especially while she was in school. During a 2014 ABC special, she revealed that she was treated so poorly that she attempted suicide due to shame about her identity. “The suicide attempt happened when I was in sixth grade and I was having all these feelings about other boys,” she said. “And I didn’t want to live.”

She told her followers that, “I have a long history of harassment. It’s not safe in the world and I don’t like to think about that a lot but it is the truth. It’s the truth, you’re not safe if you are a trans person. Obviously, I know this well.”

This year Cox released Disclosure, a Netflix documentary on trans representation. The documentary criticised Hollywood’s history of transgender stereotypes and tropes. “We need more trans folks working behind the scenes – directing, producing, below the line positions, just more,” she told the Guardian in June. “And more representation in positions of power.”

Trans people across the country suffer from staggering rates of abuse and hatred.

Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

According to the National Center of Transgender Equality, at least 28 transgender and non-binary people were murdered, or were suspected to have been murdered, in just the first seven months of 2020 alone, a number that already surpasses the total for all of 2019 and shows how much danger trans people face daily.

In her video, Cox said that she was still stunned by the incident, but emphasized that this type of harassment is not the fault of trans people. “It doesn’t matter who you are — if you’re trans, you’re going to experience stuff like this,” 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.”

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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Trans Latina’s Account Of Transphobic Treatment At TSA Goes Viral— ‘Solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man’

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Trans Latina’s Account Of Transphobic Treatment At TSA Goes Viral— ‘Solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man’

ANGELA WEISS / Getty

The TSA has long come under fire for its mishandling of minorities. From their treatment and suspicion of certain ethnicities to their mishandling of binary scanning technology, it’s no secret that TSA officers are lacking in awareness when it comes to certain issues. This is particularly true when it comes to nonbinary and trans people. In fact, recently a ProPublica investigation revealed that trans people are often forced to endure invasive searches by the TSA in airports.

In some of the worst cases, trans people have reported being forced to show their genitals to simply fly.

Rose Montoya, an Arizona-based, Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary trans model recently recalled an experience with TSA that was extremely transphobic.

In the viral TikTok video, which has racked up over three million views, Montoya recalled her experience with airport security and underlined why “we need to change how the scanners function and educate TSA about trans people”.

Speaking about the recent incident, Montaya recalled how “going through the scanner, there’s a male and female scanner for the TSA checkpoint… But going through the scanner, I always have an ‘anomaly’ between my legs that sets off the alarm. So she asked me if I had anything in my pants and I say, ‘No’, so she said, ‘Maybe it’s just the metal buttons on your shorts.’”

“So I went through the scanner again but I set off the alarm again, so I said I am trans woman and to just pat me down,” she explained. “Her solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man instead. I didn’t, but I ended up doing it. And my boobs set it off, because of course. So I tried to make a joke out of it and said don’t worry, there’s just a bunch of plastic in there. Then she said we have to pat you down and asked if I would prefer a man to do it. I said absolutely not.”

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Montoya was recently traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles to visit her boyfriend when she was subjected to humiliation by TSA.

Montoya’s experience sparked a conversation on TikTok and Instagram, where many trans people shared similar experiences with TSA.

a“It’s been proven that the system we have in place is broken and doesn’t work,” she emphasized. “We also need to train people on how to treat trans people. If I tell you I’m a trans woman, it most likely means I want to be scanned as a woman, treated as a woman, and patted down by a woman.”

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