“Who cares if I’m trans? How does this affect your life?”
Laverne Cox has revealed that she was a victim of a transphobic attack on Sunday (29 November).
In a ten-minute video posted to Instagram, the star explained that she and her friend – who prefers to remain anonymous – were walking in a Los Angeles park when a man “aggressively” asked them for the time.
“The friend that I’m with looks at his watch and tells him the time,” said Laverne. “Then the guy who asked for the time says to my friend, ‘Guy or girl?’ My friend says, ‘Fuck off.’”
The unidentified man proceeded to attack her friend, but fled the scene when Laverne jumped on her phone and dialled 911.
“The guy really wanted me to answer so that he could 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 added.
“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?”
The actress, who rose to fame as Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black, admitted to being “harassed and bullied” her entire life, and felt “lucky” that her friend was there for support.
However, she continued to say that the attack was a stark reminder that “it’s not safe in this world”, especially if you’re a member of the transgender community.
“Obviously, I know this well. It’s just really sad,” she sighed. “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.”
Laverne ended her video by assuring her trans followers that it’s “not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world” and that “we have a right to walk in the park”.
Her post was met with support from stars such as Indya Moore, Peppermint, Naomi Campbell, Dominique Jackson, Jamie Windust, Lee Daniels, Kerry Washington, Niecy Nash and Meghan Trainor.
This year alone has seen 39 transgender individuals killed in the United States, a large majority of which have been Black and Latinx transgender women.
Tori Cooper from the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement: “We are continuing to see a devastating rate of violence against trans and gender non-conforming people in the United States, especially against Black and Brown trans women, and it must be stopped.
“It takes all of us to speak up and take action to end this violence.”