“Orange Is the New Black” star and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox took to Instagram on Saturday to share that she and her friend were the victims of a transphobic attack that has left her “in shock.”
In an IGTV video, Cox detailed that she went for a socially distanced walk with a friend in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, and soon encountered a man who aggressively asked 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?'” Cox said. “My friend says, ‘F— off.'”
According to Cox, the man then proceeded to attack her friend, hitting him several times.
“I look back and I’m like ‘What is happening?’ The guy is like hitting my friend, and then my friend is going toward him and I’m like ‘Holy s—!'” Cox said. “I pull out my phone and I call to dial 911, and all of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone.”
Once Cox and her friend had time to process the incident, they came to the conclusion that the man was trying to get Cox to answer when he asked for the time.
“The guy really wanted me to answer so that he could spook whether I’m trans or not,” Cox said. “I don’t know why, I don’t know why it matters. 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?”
Cox was shaken by the incident, saying that it reminded her just how unsafe the world can be. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, in 2020 alone, 28 transgender people have been killed, surpassing the total for last year.
“It’s not safe in the world. And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it’s the truth,” Cox 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.”
Cox continued: “It doesn’t matter who you are. You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you’re trans … you’re going to experience stuff like this.”
Cox ended the video by encouraging her followers not to blame themselves if something similar happens 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. … We have a right to walk in the park.”
Cox’s video received immediate support from a slew of celebrities.
Director Lee Daniels wrote, “Stay strong beautiful sister.” “Little Fires Everywhere” star Kerry Washington commented, “Woman!!!!!!!! Ugh. I am so sorry. Love you.” “Lovecraft Country” actor Jamie Chung also contributed a message of support, writing: “I’m sorry you and your friend were attacked. This is infuriating. I hope he was reported and you gave them his description.”