Dozens of protesters rallied in protest after two transgender women and a queer man were forcibly and violently removed from a Los Angeles bar after allegedly being the target of transphobic and homophobic abuse from other patrons.
A video posted online Saturday and viewed over 200,000 times, shows bouncers at Las Perlas on 107 E. 6th St grabbing the group and dragging them out of the door of the bar. "Don't touch me like that," Jennifer Bianchi, one of the women, says repeatedly. In the footage, a bouncer wraps his arms around another woman's neck, in a headlock, and proceeds to forcibly remove her from the premises.
\u201cTHREAD: 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)\u201d
The group consisted of staff and volunteers from a local nonprofit, Bienestar Human Services, who had just finished speaking at DTLA Proud, an annual two-day event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. They had come to Las Perlas to celebrate, where they allege they were harassed by a man and a woman who began to call them "faggots," and make transphobic remarks like "you are all dudes," according to Bienestar.
"The group of trans women tried to de-escalate the situation, then the couple shouted and threatened the group by saying, 'We will come back and kill you,'" the non-profit said in a release.
Police were called to the scene and a hate crime incident report was filed.
Las Perlas issued a statement on social media after videos of the incident were shared online, alleging that the company asked "both groups to leave" and then "removed the guests that were not compliant with the manager's request to leave and did so in accordance with company policy." They went on to characterize the incident "rare" and "unfortunate" and said the bar has provided "an inclusive and welcoming environment" since opening a decade ago.
The business said they will be donating all profits made during the LGBTQ+ festival this weekend to Bienestar Human Services.
The videos drew backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, with some saying that they plan to boycott the establishment includingRuPaul's Drag Race star Aja who called the company's apology 'backtracking.' "Do not support this business," they wrote to Instagram. "They have a responsibility to admit they were being transphobic. But this statement they posted is literal back tracking."
"The trans umbrella needs all the support they can get from us and as a NB person who passes as Cis, it is my responsibility to use my platform to speak up about these situations. "
"Our trans community does not feel safe, especially after our lives being threatened," said Khloe Perez-Rios , a program manager at Bienestar to the Los Angeles Blade. "Las Perlas must answer for how this situation was handled -- and being next door to Redline, an LGBTQ-focused bar, this is unacceptable. Our community demands answers and action."
According to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, Los Angeles saw an increase in hate crime reports last year -- LGBTQ+ individuals were among the most frequently targeted groups.
The report also says that the LAPD saw an almost 40% increase in hate crimes related to sexual orientation between 2017 and 2018.