WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA) – Three transgender women and a gay man who claim they were verbally and physically assaulted before being forcibly removed from a downtown Los Angeles bar last month held a news conference Monday to discuss their ordeal.
On the night of Aug. 23, the alleged victims were with a group of people at Las Perlas, located at 107 E 6th St., when they claim they were approached by a straight couple using hurtful transphobic slurs, which they say then turned into a physical assault.
“When we tried to intervene to Fernanda, the transphobic couple only became more violent,” LGBTQ advocate Khloe Perez-Rios told reporters in a news conference Monday at the Woodland Hills law firm of their lawyer, celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom. “The female aggressor threw punches at me…the couple then threatened our lives by saying, ‘I’m going to kill you all.’”
The group, made up of staff and volunteers for local nonprofit Bienestar Human Services, were at the bar to support DTLA Proud, an annual two-day festival held in Pershing Square that celebrates the LGBTQ community.
Cell phone video which went viral captured the tail end of the incident. The friends said that when they asked security for help, the guards escorted out the couple who had attacked them. However, instead of calling police, the transgender group was then dragged out as well.
“I asked management numerous times to call 911, but they failed to do so,” LGBTQ advocate Jorge Rios said Monday. “I asked them numerous times not to remove us from their establishment, but they failed to listen.”
Los Angeles police are investigating. Immediately following the incident, Las Perlas posted a statement saying that its security guards followed procedure. However, following a large protest outside the bar, Las Perlas stated that it has hired new security guards who have undergone sensitivity training.
The four are calling on the lounge to meet with them about more training for employees, as well as compensation. A lawsuit has not yet been filed, however.
The couple involved in the incident has not been identified, Bloom said.