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Transgender Women Targeted at Local Downtown LA Bar

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

By Frank Rojas 8/28/19

Front-exterior of the bar. Photographed by Frank Rojas

Amid a Downtown Los Angeles celebration, the city found itself in a disheartening situation at a local downtown bar.


The incident took place on Friday evening at Las Perlas, a mezcal bar, after two transgender women were harassed both verbally and physically by another couple. Jeniffer Bianchi and Khloe Perez-Rios state that they were targeted because they are transgender.


To make the incident worse, security for the bar came in, but instead of providing safety for the targeted individuals forcefully dragged them out of the bar.


In a video recorded by Perez-Rios, security is seen holding one of the women down by her throat. After they were forced outside, both women alleged that they continued to be targeted by the couple with Bianchi then being slapped in the face. As they waited for police to arrive, the bouncers did nothing to restrain the couple when the assault happened. The video has since then gone viral.


Pouring With Heart, the company that owns Las Perlas, released an official statement on their Facebook page regarding the situation. It reads:


“On Friday night there was an altercation at Las Perlas and our outside security staff removed several patrons from both sides of the altercation. Our first and primary concern, and has been from day one, is to operate a safe place for all people. Period, no exceptions.

We regret that didn’t happen Friday night, and want to apologize to all of our guests including the Transgender community, a community who has come to our bar as well as works there. We are taking immediate steps to fully investigate what happened on Friday and to address each concern that we’ve received since then.


To begin to make this right we commit immediately to the following actions:


We are hiring a new security company for Las Perlas that has received sensitivity training.

We have retained outside counsel to review the tapes and actions from Friday night to make more specific analysis of exactly what happened and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


We are committed to working with the community and we are researching the right partner to help us move forward in the most positive way possible including staff and vendor training.

This incident is not in alignment with who we are and our intent is to prove this in action and deed, not words and hyperbole.”


This all took place after the two women attended the 4th Annual DTLA Proud Festival which is located down the street from Las Perlas in Pershing Square. The festival is part of a non-profit organization that strengthens and empowers the local LGBTQ+ & ally community in Downtown Los Angeles through visibility, volunteerism, partnerships, and events.


Several announcements were made by hosts and performers about the incident throughout the three-day event while also shedding light on the Transgender Community.


Allán who identifies as queer and whose pronouns are he, she, they performed Sunday evening as part of Mariachi Arcoiris. The Los Angeles native band is the first LGBTQ Mariachi in the world and has the first transgender female in the history of mariachi as one of its members. Allán had this to say when asked about the incident:


“What happened at Las Perlas is, unfortunately, a story we’ve seen time and time again. Violence against trans women of color and the perpetrators getting away with it...As a society, we need to get over our worshipping of the male and embrace our femininity to even BEGIN to understand what trans people go through every day. Trans people are not the enemy. Our own fear of loving trans people and maybe even our own fear of loving ourselves is what keeps us violent, defensive, and ultimately divided.”


A protest took place Saturday evening outside Las Perlas where LGBTQ community members and allies demanded justice for Bianchi and Perez-Rios. The two women have filled a hate crime report with the Los Angeles Police Department and an investigation is under way. There have been no further statements released.


If you identify as transgender or are someone who is transitioning or preparing to transition, the Los Angeles LGBT Center provides programs, activities, and events specifically for you.


Follow the link for more information:


https://lalgbtcenter.org/social-service-and-housing/legal-services/transgender-services