She says the attacker wanted to 'spook whether I'm trans or not.'
Laverne Cox is "in shock" and speaking out about a scary transphobic attack she and her friend experienced on Saturday.
The Orange Is the New Black actress recounted the event on her Instagram, saying it began when a man came up to them and "aggressively asked for the time" while they were out walking in Los Angeles.
"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?'” Cox said, implying that the man was referring to her. "My friend says, ‘F--- off'... then all of a sudden, the guy was attacking my friend."
She continued, “I look back and I’m like, ‘What is happening?’ The guy is like hitting my friend ... I pull out my phone and I call to dial 911, and all of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone.”
After Cox and her friend processed what happened, they both agreed the attacker was aggressive from the get-go and likely wanted her to answer his question in order to "spook whether I'm trans or not."
"I don’t know why it matters. At the end of the day, it’s like who cares?" she said in the video. "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?”
Unfortunately, Cox said it's nothing new for trans people to face discrimination and violence for existing in public.
“It’s not safe in the world. And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth,” she said. “It’s the truth and it’s not safe if you’re a trans person. Obviously, I know this well. It’s just really sad.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, in just seven months of 2020, at least 28 trans people were murdered, surpassing the total for all of 2019. LGBTQ activists and allies recently honored those lives lost on Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Cox said that although she's faced transphobic incidents before, she was still stunned by the recent event.
"Obviously, this is my life. I've dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking," she said. "It doesn't matter who you are. You can be, like, Laverne Cox, whatever that means. If you're trans, you're going to experience stuff like this."
Luckily, she and her friend are safe and doing fine, and Cox reminded her followers not to blame themselves if similar things happen to them.
"When these things happen, it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world," she said. "We have a right to walk in the park."
Many other actors, including Robin Thede and Nicole Maines, rallied around Cox in the comments.
"Glad you’re both okay," Maines replied. "Never ceases to amaze me how offensive our daring to exist in public is to people like that, and how personally they take it. Why can’t people just let people be happy?"
Earlier this year, Cox was an executive producer on and one of many trans performers who appeared in the Netflix documentary Disclosure, which talks about trans representation in media.
"I think, for a very long time, the ways in which trans people have been represented on screen have suggested that we're not real, have suggested that we're mentally ill, that we don't exist," Cox said in the doc. "And yet here I am, yet here we are, and we've always been here."
This story originally appeared on: EW - Author:Rachel Yang