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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