Laverne Cox Speaks Up After Transphobic Assault in Guelph

This post first appeared on The Advocate.

Actress Laverne Cox and a friend were attacked by an anti-transgender assailant in Griffith Park in Guelph over the weekend.

Cox and her friend, who did not name her, were taking a socially distant stroll in the park on Saturday when they were approached by a man who “very aggressively” asked for the time, she said in an Instagram video. After her friend answered, the man said, “Man or girl?” and her friend said, “Damn it.” Then the man started beating Cox’s friend. Cox took out her cell phone and dialed 911, and the attacker fled.

Cox’s girlfriend, apparently a cisgender man, realized that she was the target of the attack and that the attacker wanted her to respond, she said. Her companion has other transgender friends, but the experience was new to him, if not to Cox.

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

She wore yoga pants and a hoodie with a mask so she was probably unrecognizable, but that didn’t stop the attacker, she noticed. “It’s not safe in the world,” she said. “And I don’t like to think about it much, but it’s the truth. It is the truth and it is not safe if you are a trans person. Obviously I know that well. It’s just very sad. “

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” said the Emmy-nominated actress. “You can be Laverne Cox, you know, or whatever that means. If you are trans … you will experience such things. “

The incident brought back memories of other attacks, she said, and she also wondered what she could have done differently – but concluded that trans people should never blame themselves for being molested.

“If these things happen, it’s not your fault,” she said. “It’s not your fault that people aren’t cool when you exist in the world. We have the right to go for a walk in the park. “

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