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Laverne Cox says transphobic attack was 'deeply traumatizing'

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Laverne Cox says the transphobic attack she experienced in November was a "deeply traumatizing" event.

The 48-year-old actress said on Wednesday's episode of Good Morning America that the attack reminded her how transgender people's safety is often in danger in public.

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Cox said she and a friend were walking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles when they were attacked.

"We were walking, this guy passes us. He asked for the time. My friend tells him the time ... and then the guy asked my friend, my friend's a straight white guy, and he asked my friend, 'Guy or girl?' in reference to me," the star said.

"My friend says, 'F off,' in defense of me. Then the guy hits my friend. All the sudden the guy's hitting my friend and I'm, like, freaking out and my friend's, like, advancing towards the guy. And then I go to call the police and then it's over," she added.

Cox said the attack was a "traumatizing" and "triggering" experience.

"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," the actress said.

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"But it was a reminder for me that even though I'm Laverne Cox, the actress who's on TV, that if you're a trans person in public, your life can be in danger, and your safety can be in danger, and the safety of people around you can be in danger just because of being trans in public," she added.

Cox said 2020 has been the "deadliest year on record" for transgender people.

"More transgender people have been murdered this year than any other year that we've been taking the statistics. So even during a global pandemic, the lives of transgender people are in danger and it doesn't matter who you are," she said.

Cox encouraged people to question their "relationships to gender and policing people's gender in public."

Cox first shared the story of her attack in a video Nov. 28 on Instagram.

"I just can't believe it got physical. I guess I can believe it, but it was just really, really weird," the star said.

"It's not safe in the world. I don't like to think about that a lot, but it is the truth. It's the truth that it's not safe if you're a trans person," she added. "It's just really sad."

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Cox is known for playing Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. She will next appear with Carey Mulligan in the film Promising Young Woman, which opens in theaters Dec. 25.

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