“It’s just not safe in the world, and I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it’s the truth… I know this well.”
In a video posted to Instagram, Laverne Cox recounted the attack she and a friend experienced while walking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California.
The Orange is the New Black actress said the attacker approached them as they took a socially distant walk on Saturday (November 28).
“I had my hoodie on and I had my mask on,” she says in the video, demonstrating how she was dressed while walking through the park with her friend.
As they were walking, a man approached them and asked for the time, “very aggressively,” Cox recalls in the video.
“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?’ My friend says, ‘F--- off,’” Cox explained.
Cox, who walked ahead, said the man hit her friend several times before running off after she pulled out her phone and started dialing 911 for help.
“It happened in a split second,” she said in the Instagram video. She went on to say that her friend believes the man wanted her to answer his request of the time in order to determine whether Cox was trans or not.
Cox also described her long history of dealing with street harassment she's experienced as a Black trans woman, saying that even before the pandemic started she has always been careful about where she goes when leaving the house.
“I’m very hyper aware whenever I leave the house because of my history of [harassment],” she said.
Of Saturday’s attack, Cox wanted her followers to know that they shouldn’t feel responsibility if they experience something similar.
“It’s not your fault that people are not cool with you existing in the world. We have the right to walk in the park.”
In November, the FBI released the annual Uniform Crime Report which showed a 20% increase in gender identity-based hate crimes in 2019. Of these attacks, 175 targeted trans people.
Cox’s video detailing the attack sparked an outpouring of support from followers, activists, and organizations including Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Photo: Getty Images