A Republican candidate for Congress went live on Facebook while harassing a possibly transgender woman in the bathroom, chasing them out of a Denny’s restaurant and humiliating them in front of other customers.
Jazmina Saavedra, who is running in the 44th District, told ABC 7 the incident started when a waitress told her there was “a man who said he was a woman using the women’s restroom.”
She livestreamed herself walking into the bathroom to confront the individual, who is sitting inside a stall. An employee of the restaurant is standing outside the stall door, knocking and asking the person to come out, whom he calls a man.
“Why you use the ladies’ room?” Saavedra yells.
“You’re invading my privacy,” the unidentified individual responds.
Saavedra, who is wearing a Trump shirt in the video, claims that it’s her privacy being invaded, to which the person using the bathroom asks how that’s possible when all they are doing is trying to use the facilities.
The Denny’s employee eventually leads them out of the restroom, where the Trump supporting congressional candidate again berates them as they try to leave.
“Excuse me, I was using the toilet, how did I invade your privacy? You’re singling me out, lady, for no reason, and I’ve seen you yesterday following me,” they told Saavedra, who told them to use the men’s room, or “a transgender room.”
“You cannot put together a man and a woman in the same bathroom. No way,” she told ABC 7 in defense of her actions. “This is not about gender. This is not about being gay or something. This is about I hear a voice of man in the ladies room. This is all about that.”
A 2016 study showed nearly 60% of transgender people avoid using public restrooms due to fears of being harassed, and one from last year showed 70% of transgender students didn’t use their school’s bathrooms for the same reason.
Saavedra is facing off against Democratic incumbent Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, who issued a statement in response to the situation.
“I was appalled by the treatment that this woman received for simply trying to use the restroom,” Barragan said. “Everyone has the right to their own identity, and the right not to be discriminated against for who they are.”
“Ignorance is not the sole province of one party or political perspective. But the current Administration has emboldened people to express their ignorance and hatred in a way that is so odious and shameful that we are required time and again to actively resist,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings in a statement.
“That a candidate for Congress can express such outrageous and callous disregard for another human being clearly demonstrates that she is not fit for public office,” Cummings continued. “But just to be clear in case Ms. Saavedra does not get the message, ignorance, fear-mongering and harassment have no place in a country founded on principles of equality and mutual respect.”
Saavedra has been sharing articles covering the incident on her Facebook page, using the caption on one such post to link to where people can donate to her campaign.