Laverne Cox took to IGTV Saturday to detail a transphobic attack involving her and a male friend during a recent walk in Los Angeles’ Griffin Park. Cox said they were "aggressively" approached by a man who was asking them for the time.
"The friend that I'm with looks at his watch and tells him the time, and then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend, 'Guy or girl?,'" she said. "My friend says, 'Fuck off.'" The tense exchange quickly escalated with the man attacking her friend. When Cox pulled out her phone to call 911, the guy fled.
"This dude was looking for trouble ... because I happened to be a trans person in public," she said. "That's all it felt like. This isn't shocking to me – obviously, this is my life. I've dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking, I guess... I've been trans my whole life, I've been harassed and bullied my whole life. None of this is new, but it's still just kind of like ... why do you need to be aggressive?"
"If doesn't matter who you are. You can be, like, Laverne Cox, whatever that means," she continued. "If you're trans, you're going to experience stuff like this."
Cox said that following the incident, she started blaming herself, even though they did 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."
"It's just – it's not safe in the world," Cox added. "I don't like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth and it is not safe if you're a trans person."
The Human Rights Campaign reported earlier this month that at least 39 trans and gender nonconforming people have been killed this year. HRC refers to it as an "epidemic of violence" that disproportionately impacts the Black and Latinx transgender women. Black transgender women alone account for 66 percent of these reported deaths.
What makes these statistics even more alarming is that HRC only deals with the deaths that are being reported because as the organization puts it, "too often these stories go unreported — or misreported."