Transgender women are one of the most vulnerable groups in our country, and a recent interaction at a Denny’s is a reminder of how much further we have to go. Republican congressional candidate Jazmina Saavedra, a Nicaraguan immigrant who hopes to represent the state’s 44th District, confronted a transgender woman at a Denny’s in California and recorded it all. On Tuesday, she posted a video on Facebook that said, “A man in a ladies room saying He is a woman. (Obama legacy) As your next Congress woman, I will fight to get our right to have a ladies room just for us back.” In the video, Jazmina goes to the bathroom and accuses the woman of being a man. The woman – who can only be heard at the beginning of the video – accurately says that the politician is invading her privacy.
The video has now received more than 100,000 views, so it’s not just that Saavedra employed transphobic behavior and continued to misgender this woman, it’s also that she plastered an innocent person’s face on the internet. Though Saavedra’s says she’s in danger (there is no evidence that trans women make bathrooms dangerous), she’s actually putting the unnamed woman at risk. Violence committed against the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color, is high. This video, which intends to cast this woman in a negative light, brings unnecessary attention to a person just trying to live their everyday life, making Jazmina’s choice to document this interaction completely irresponsible.
Days later, Saavedra stands by her words and action. In an interview with Refinery 29, she continued to display her ignorance. “She wasn’t a lady, she was a man. I heard his voice. I came with my camera, on my phone, to ask him why he was in the women’s restroom,” she said. “I didn’t know that the guy was a gay guy. I can’t say transgender because someone says transgender, what comes to my mind is a man dressed as a woman. That guy wasn’t dressed as a woman. The LGBT community is always trying to victimize themselves and twist any story to look like a victim.” ? So. much. trash.