As one of the most notable Black trans actress in Hollywood, Laverne Cox shared that she’s still subjugated to the same hatred and violence that took the lives of countless Black trans women.
On Saturday, Cox shared a violent experience she had earlier that day while walking with a male friend in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. She decided to keep her friend’s identity anonymous in order to protect his privacy.
“Something just happened that was–I’m kind of in shock. I’m a little–I definitely was super triggered,” she began.
According to Cox, the two were aggressively approached by a stranger who demanded to know the time. She said after her friend answered the man’s question, he rudely asked if Cox was a “guy or girl,” clearly intent on inciting some sort of confrontation.
“My friend says ‘f–k’ off, I’m walking, I’m hearing all of this is happening in a split second and all of a sudden, the guy is attacking my friend,” she said. Cox quickly pulled out her phone to call 911, but when she looked up, the man was gone.
Cox explained that her friend shared he’s been out in public with other trans friends but has never experienced violence. Cox replied that while it ‘doesn’t always get physical,’ she has been the subject of violent attacks.
“I have a long history of street harassment in New York, of being clocked or spooked and you know, sort of being called out on the street or whatever,” she said.
In total, she’s thankful for her friend and that they are safe, even though the world constantly offers a different experience for trans people, especially Black trans women. This year at least 29 trans women were killed, the majority of them being Black or Latinx, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The number could be higher, but violence against trans community members are severely underreported due to distrust of law enforcement, lack of resources and fear of retaliation from their attackers, if they survive.
“It’s just – it’s not safe in the world,” Cox said. “I don’t like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth and it is not safe if you’re a trans person.”
“This dude was looking for trouble … because I happened to be a trans person in public,” she said. “That’s all it felt like. This isn’t shocking to me – obviously, this is my life. I’ve dealt with this a lot, but it never fails to be shocking, I guess… 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 … why do you need to be aggressive?”
Cox said she’s still reckoning with whether she should have recorded the man, but the moment happened so fast. While battling with feelings of guilt, she also reminded her viewers that they should not take on the burden of blame.
“It’s not your fault that there are people not cool with you existing in the world.”
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