Attorney Lisa Bloom, of the famed civil rights law firm, The Bloom Firm, has taken on the case of four members of the transgender and gay community who were attacked at Las Perlas, a Los Angeles venue. Bloom noted the courage of her clients as well as her pride in taking on the case. She also made an impassioned plea to end the violence against trans and gay people:
Attorney Lisa Bloom is representing Fernanda Celarie, Jennifer Bianchi, Khloe Perez-Rios and Jorge Diaz whose images were viewed on the news and across social media recently after they were accosted by transphobic and homophobic patrons of Las Perlas, a lounge in downtown Los Angeles. It is alleged that they were physically attacked by Las Perlas’s security team while being ejected for requesting protection from harassment.
Each client spoke emotionally about their experiences at a Press Conference which can be viewed on the webpage of The Bloom Firm. Attorney Lisa Bloom is demanding justice to repair the damage done to her clients and the LGBTQ community as a whole.
Bloom tweeted: “Emotional press conference today as my brave clients, 3 trans women and a gay man, spoke out about transphobic and homophobic slurs & attacks, then retaliation for reporting them. Everyone has the right to go to a restaurant and be treated with dignity.”
The clients spoke to the press about their experience.
An emotionally distraught Ms. Perez-Rios, who described herself as advocate and voice for the Los Angeles Latina community, described how the horrific scene at the Los Angeles Bar unfolded. The group of co-workers attended the bar after a long day at Los Angeles Pride where they worked a trans resource booth, thinking they were at a safe place where they could relax and have an enjoyable time. She notes it was anything but a safe place. Instead they were accosted by an intoxicated heterosexual couple hurling transphobic slurs, misgendering and threatened to kill them, while attempting to land physical punches. After the group complained to management the intoxicated couple was asked to leave the premises. The group did the right thing by reporting the incident and the couple left. The matter should have ended there, noted Bloom. Much to the shock of the trans group, instead of being seen as the victims, they were treated as if perpetrators and then physically ejected from the premises. The situation escalated.
Attorney Lisa Bloom played the video showing the Las Perlas security guards, inter alia, grabbing one of the trans woman in a chokehold and dragging her out the door, while screaming “get out.” I must admit it was very difficult to watch. How shameful and hateful for an establishment treat any person in so putrid and disgusting a fashion. It was violent and unwarranted.
Bloom noted that the violence against LGBTQ people is at appalling all-time high, with 18 trans murders this year. She noted that anti-trans violence is at epidemic levels especially against trans women of color. She also noted the high incidence of hate crimes against gays, with many incidents going unreported. Bloom said she would like to be able to tell her clients that they are safe and equal – but that she cannot. She made the pointed assertion that any hateful word said to a trans person must be taken seriously because it is clear that physical violence commences with hateful words, leads to threats and then actual violence, often ending in murder. “Failing to stop transphobic words could literally mean the difference between life or death for one of our trans friends,” said Bloom.
Indeed it is clear that this display of hate by the security team is indicative of that very violence and serves to endorse and spread the violence against trans people.
In her powerful statement, Bloom closed by demanding of Las Perlas and the security company:
1) A full and proper apology to include retraction of a statement where Las Perlas and the Security Company denied responsibility
2) Comprehensive sensitivity LGBTQ training for the staff especially because Las Perlas intends to open in West Hollywood
3) Meet with Attorney Bloom and clients to work a compensation package for medical bills, lost wages, counseling,andf pain and suffering
And failing all of the above, Bloom will file a lawsuit on behalf of her clients.
View the Full Press Conference HERE.
by MELANIE NATHAN