Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, and her friend were in Griffiths Park in Los Angeles when they were attacked by an assailant, in a shocking transphobic attack. 

Miss Cox and her friend, who has not been named, were on a socially distanced walk through the park on Saturday when they were approached by a man who was acting very aggressively. The man then asked for the time Cox reported in an Instagram video. At this time the man who approached asked “guy or girl?” to which her friend replied “fuck off.” This then led to the aggressive man starting to hit her friend whilst Miss Cox called 911 and the attacker fled. 

The friend of the actress is a cis-gendered man who read the situation of the man acting aggressively to mean Miss Cox was going to be the target of an attack. Miss Cox said that the assailant wanted her to respond. Her friend has other friends who are of the transgender community but this experience was a new one for him, sadly this is not the case for the talented trans actor. 

“This has happened to me before,” she said. “I’ve been trans my whole life. I’ve been harassed and bullied my whole life. None of this is new, but it’s still just kind of like, ‘Who cares?’ and then ‘Why do you need to be aggressive?’”

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 Dressed in yoga pants, a hoodie and face mask, it was highly unlikely that she would have been recognisable, but that did not deter the attacker.

“It’s not safe in the world. And I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth. It’s the truth, and it is not safe if you’re a trans person. Obviously, I know this well. It’s just really sad,” said Cox, who became in 2015 the first openly transperson to win a Daytime Emmy Award (as executive producer for Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word) and the first transperson to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is The New Black

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” the Emmy-nominated actress pointed out. “You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you’re trans… you’re going to experience stuff like this.”

As an effect of the attack Cox was flooded with memories of other attacks, she said, and she also found herself asking what she could have done differently — but, she concluded, trans people should never fault themselves for being harassed.

“When these things happen, it’s not your fault,” she stressed. “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.”

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

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