Video footage shows trans women being dragged in headlocks out of the bar. (CBS2/KCAL9)
Several trans women were allegedly forcibly removed by security from a Los Angeles restaurant and bar on Friday night (August 23), after being attacked by a “transphobic” couple.
The group of LGBT+ people, made up of trans women and gay men, were staff and volunteers from a local charity who were there to support the two-day Pride festival DTLA Proud, and had gone together to the bar Las Perlas in downtown LA.
Video footage posted online shows the trans women being put in headlocks and physically dragged out of the bar, with one of the women, Jennifer Bianchi, repeatedly saying: “Don’t touch me like that.”
Bianchi told CBS2/KCAL9: “I think it was really wrong and humiliating, hurtful.”
THREAD: Last night in #DTLA trans women and queer men were forcibly removed from @LasPerlasLA against their will after being subject to #transphobia #hate and #homophobia (1/4) pic.twitter.com/HbiYHJEBlm
— Nicholas Turton 🏳️🌈 (@turton_nicholas) August 24, 2019
The couple allegedly threatened to kill the trans women
Another of the women, Khloe Rios, told the TV station:”We were attacked by a couple who was very transphobic, one of my co-workers was actually slapped in the face. The aggressors threatened to come back and shoot us and kill us.”
She added: “The two aggressors were treated with kindness and asked to leave politely. I think that was the main issue – why are you treating people differently because of their gender identity?”
Yesterday, people from the local LGBT+ community gathered outside the bar chanting: “Trans lives matter.”
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) posted a statement on Twitter: “LAPD is investigating the incident at Las Perlas restaurant in DTLA. Please know that the Department is committed to ensuring the safety of every Angeleno, as well as the right of all to live their true lives in peace, harmony, and free from anxiety or fear.”
The department later added: “Whether in public, or inside of a private establishment, all Angelenos deserve the freedom to coexist in harmony. Although we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, rest assured the LAPD will thoroughly investigate the incident at Las Perlas.”
Whether in public, or inside of a private establishment, all Angelenos deserve the freedom to coexist in harmony. Although we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, rest assured the LAPD will thoroughly investigate the incident at Las Perlas. https://t.co/eUPqvsMdk8
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 25, 2019
The restaurant operators said the security guards acted “in accordance with company policy”
Cedd Moses, who owns the company which operates Las Perlas, released a statement via Instagram, saying: “Last evening, an escalated verbal altercation broke out among two groups of guests at Las Perlas. Our manager on duty asked both groups to leave as the safety and security of our patrons and employees is our top priority and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior in our establishments.
“The guards removed the guests that were not compliant with the manager’s request to leave and did so in accordance with company policy.”
LA residents on social media are now calling for a boycott of the restaurant.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) estimates that at least 16 trans people have been shot or killed by other violent means so far this year in the US.