Laverne Cox opens up about being the victim of a “deeply traumatizing” hate attack

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox Photo: Shutterstock

In an interview with Good Morning America, Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox opened up about being the victim of a recent anti-transgender attack.

At the end of November, Cox recorded an Instagram Live video describing her experience being harassed by a stranger in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park while out for a walk with a friend.

Related: Laverne Cox was the victim of an anti-transgender hate attack

A man approached Cox and her friend and “very aggressively” asked for the time, Cox said. When her friend answered, the stranger asked “Guy or girl?” referring to Cox.

“My friend says ‘Fuck off,’ I’m walking, I’m hearing all of this and it’s happening in like a split second, and then all of a sudden the guy is attacking my friend,” Cox said.

By the time Cox called 911, the man was gone. Neither she nor her friend was injured.

In her GMA interview, Cox called the incident “deeply traumatizing.”

“It was triggering,” she said. “Most of my life, growing up in Alabama, I was bullied my whole life. Transitioning as a transgender woman in New York City, I was harassed in the street, practically every day on the subway.”

Cox added that the incident served as a reminder that being a famous actress doesn’t mean she is safe as a trans person.

“If you are a trans person in public, your life can be in danger, and your safety can be in danger, and the safety of the people around you can be in danger.”

2020, she said, is the deadliest year on record for transgender people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 41 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed by violent means this year, most of them Black and Latina transgender women.

“So even during a global pandemic the lives of transgender people are in danger,” Cox said, “and it doesn’t matter who you are, and I think this is an opportunity for everyone to question their relationships to gender and policing people’s gender in public.”

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