Jazmina Saavedra, a candidate for Congress in California, shared a Facebook live video last week where she argues with a transgender woman for using a public bathroom.
The Republican candidate for the 44th Congressional district confronted a transgender woman using the public women’s bathroom at a Los Angeles Denny’s on Tuesday, broadcasting the confrontation on social media, The Hill reports.
As seen in the screenshot above, Saavedra’s footage shows her using a selfie stick to take her phone into the bathroom and film herself arguing with the unidentified woman through the closed bathroom stall door. The video has since been taken down on Facebook but a duplicate is still on Youtube.
“Why are you using the ladies’ room?” Saavedra demands at about the 40-second mark of her 7-minute video.
“You’re invading my privacy,” the other person responds, at which point Saavedra says, “No, you’re invading my privacy because I’m a woman.”
At around the 3-minute mark, Saavedra confronts the person as they leave the restroom and accuses them of invading her privacy again, remarking as she leaves, “Next time use the men’s room.”
After the other woman departs, Saavedra continues filming and talking about the experience.
“This is insane. How can I be with a man inside of the ladies’ room just because he thinks he’s a lady? This is unbelievable. Only in California this happens,” she says at around the 5-minute mark. Later, she reveals that she was equipped not only with pepper spray, but a stun gun as well, commenting, “I was with my pepper spray ready and I called the manager so he helped me.”
It is unclear if the woman in the video identifies as transgender, but she reportedly told a waitress that she is female, CBS Los Angeles reports.
A spokesperson for Denny’s confirmed to CBS Los Angeles that a manager did ask the woman to leave after he observed “drug paraphernalia on the floor.” Saavedra commended management’s actions on Twitter, writing, “#LetsJustAgree that @DennysDiner did the right thing kicking out the man doing drugs in the ladies room.”
Saavedra stood by her actions during an interview with CBS Los Angeles on May 18.
“As a woman, I have the right to feel comfortable and secure in a private restroom,” she said.
When asked if she felt good about what she did, she replied, “Of course.”
Presumably in reference to the 2016 bill mandating that single-stall toilets in California be designated as gender-neutral, Saavedra remarked, “Well, first of all, the law shouldn’t be passed.”
Saavedra has retweeted people coming out in support of her including one Twitter user who tweeted “You were a potential rape victim. A penis has no place where a woman goes to a restroom,” and another who said “No such thing as trans people.”
She also attempted to appear on a Facebook Live video with Marco Gutierrez, president of Latinos For Trump, but it appears that technical difficulties prevented her from speaking. Gutierrez blamed the “evil forces” of Facebook. In a subsequent live stream from the Latinos For Trump page, Saavedra said she “didn’t have to give up [her] rights to give them to someone else.”
Saavedra’s video has drawn both criticism and concern.
"I think this video shows who is the victim actually in this video, and who is the person harassing and discriminating is," said Mariana Marroquin, program manager at Trans Wellness Center, to CBS Los Angeles. "I was in shock. It’s painful because I’m part of the community and I think we need to keep talking about this."
A spokesperson for Denny’s spoke out against discrimination and apologized for what happened, CBS Los Angeles reports.
“There is no place for discrimination of any kind in our restaurants,” their statement reads, in part. “We do apologize to our transgender guest and others in the restaurant that had to endure another customer’s disrespectful behavior.”
Saavedra is running against Democrat incumbent Rep. Nanette Barragán, who also condemned Saavedra’s actions in a statement to Refinery29.
“I was appalled by the treatment that this woman received for simply trying to use the restroom,” Barragán said. “Everyone has the right to their own identity, and the right not to be discriminated against for who they are.”
[Photo: Screenshot Via YouTube]