Trans Latina Activist Alleges LA Gay Bar The Abbey Disrespected, Misgendered Trans Woman

LGBTQ spaces are often only friendly spaces if you’re a certain part of the community: mainly, the G.

West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey, once the focus of its own reality show, faces allegations of transphobia from Los Angeles-based transgender activist and president and CEO of the TransLatina Coalition Bamby Salcedo. In a Facebook post to her personal account on Monday, Salcedo accused the bar of misgendering and disrespecting a staff member of the TransLatina Coalition.

It is disheartening that these types of incidents happened to our community when places that are supposed to be safe for our community and are places that are owned by members of the Gay and Lesbian community are not safe for us simply because they do not ensure that people who are part of their security are not even members of our communities, have discriminatory mentalities and have military mentalities that see people who are Trans as ‘the enemy,’’ she wrote.

She added, “We are not going to stand for this as it goes against the principles that we have as an organization and this is exactly what I am personally invested in dismantling.”

In a phone call with INTO, Salcedo elaborated and said that the trans woman who was harassed was physically pushed by the security guard. The woman was there to celebrate a friend’s birthday. While in line, another woman began to fight with the trans patron and accused her of being a “man in a dress.” A security guard came to de-escalate the situation, though that didn’t pan out well. 

“Obviously there are some training issues that need to happen,” Salcedo said. “We’re hoping that we can work together. We want to support them with their sensitivity needs.”

She added, “If we are supposed to be part of one community, why are we making spaces that aren’t going to be safe for our community?” 

In a comment on the original Facebook post, David Cooley, the owner of The Abbey, reached out to Salcedo and apologized for the incident. 

“I have always wanted [The Abbey] to be a place where everyone is welcome,” he said. “We have great respect for you, the TransLatina Coalition and all of our guests regardless of gender. I hope you will consider me and The Abbey your allies.”

Cooley offered to reach out to Salcedo via phone and Salcedo confirmed to INTO that the two had spoken.

In an email to INTO, a spokesperson for The Abbey said, “The Abbey is a place where everyone is welcome.  We are sorry for anyone who felt disrespected and understand the power and impact of misgendering someone.  The Abbey strives to provide a safe, inclusive and respectful space for all, regardless of gender. ” 

Cooley recently garnered headlines when he accused Alaska Airlines of splitting up he and his partner on a flight in order to accommodate a heterosexual couple who wanted to sit together.

August 14, 2018, 7:03 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect comments from Salcedo and The Abbey as well as a response to Salcedo’s post from David Cooley


Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew is a staff writer at INTO. His work has appeared in Mic, Slate and Complex. He loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Flannery O'Connor and female rappers and is working on a memoir.

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