Recently, while walking through Griffith Park in Los Angeles with a friend, Laverne Cox was attacked by an unidentified man who was motivated by transphobia.
Laverne, visibly shaken, took to Instagram to recount the story. Laverne doesn’t mention who her friend was, but she said that she and this friend were taking a stroll through the park when a male passerby aggressively asked them what time it was. Laverne said he then proceeded to ask her if she were male or female. Laverne was going to walk away but her friend told the guy off which led to a brief altercation. Below are a few excerpts from Laverne’s Instagram account via Just Jared:
Laverne explained that she and her friend were walking when a man came up to the friend and “aggressively” asked what time it was before asking, “Guy or girl?”.
The friend told the man to “f–k off,” which then triggered the man to start hitting her friend.
“The guy is like hitting my friend, and then my friend is going toward him and I’m like ‘Holy s–t,” Laverne said. “I pull out my phone and I call to dial 911, and all of a sudden it’s over and the guy is gone.”
While reflecting on the incident, Laverne said that she believes the man wanted her to answer his question instead of her friend.
“The guy really wanted me to answer so that he could spook whether I’m trans or not,” Laverne said. “I don’t know why, I don’t know why it matters. At the end of the day, it’s like who cares? I’m in a hoodie and yoga pants, I’m completely covered up, I’ve got my mask on. Who cares if I’m trans? How does this affect your life?”
She added: “This dude was looking for trouble…because I happened to be a trans person in public. None of this is new, but it’s still just kind of like…why do you need to be aggressive?”
This is absolutely appalling. Especially, since many trans activists have been shining a light on the alarming death rate of black trans women throughout the U.S. As Laverne says, why does it matter if she is trans or not? The fact that this passerby felt a need to ask Laverne a question in order to clock if she was trans or not is frightening. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act needs to be more widely enforced, and hopefully it will be under the Biden administration.
It angers me that trans women have to worry about this sort of violence and that there is nothing done about it. Thankfully Laverne had her friend with her because god only knows what would have transpired. Then again the as*hole in the park was willing to show aggression towards Laverne despite that. Unfortunately, Laverne was unable to get a picture or video of the man to report the incident.
I am glad Laverne is ok physically. Hopefully, she will be able to heal mentally and emotionally from this traumatic experience. In the meantime, I do hope that the incoming administration does something about this crisis that trans people, particularly black trans women, are facing. The fact that Biden tweeted support on Transgender Day of Remembrance gives me hope.
At least 37 transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been killed this year, most of them Black and Brown transgender women. It’s intolerable. This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor their lives—and recommit to the work that remains to end this epidemic of violence.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 20, 2020