Actress Laverne Cox and a friend were attacked by an anti-transgender assailant in Los Angeles's Griffith Park over the weekend.
Cox and her friend, whom she did not name, were having a socially distanced walk in the park Saturday when they were approached by a man who "very aggressively" asked for the time, she recounted in an Instagram video. After her friend answered, the man said, "Guy or girl?" and her friend said, "Fuck off." Then the man started hitting Cox's friend. Cox got her phone out and dialed 911, and the attacker fled.
Cox's friend, apparently a cisgender man, recognized that she was the target of the attack and that the assailant wanted her to answer, she said. Her companion has other transgender friends, but the experience was a new one for him, although not for Cox.
"This has happened to me before," she said. "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, 'Who cares?' and then 'Why do you need to be aggressive?'"
She was dressed in yoga pants and a hoodie, with a mask on, so she was likely unrecognizable, but that didn't stop the attacker, she noted. "It's not safe in the world," she said. "And I don't like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth. It's the truth, and it is not safe if you're a trans person. Obviously, I know this well. It's just really sad."
"It doesn't matter who you are," the Emmy-nominated actress pointed out. "You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you're trans ... you're going to experience stuff like this."
The incident brought back memories of other attacks, she said, and she also found herself asking what she could have done differently -- but, she concluded, trans people should never fault themselves for being harassed.
"When these things happen, it's not your fault," she stressed. "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."