Jazmina Saavedra accused the LGBTQ community of “bullying” her after a video went viral of the Trump supporter harassing a transgender woman in a Denny’s bathroom.
In an interview posted to Twitter on Friday, the Congressional hopeful claimed LGBTQ people have been attacking her online since she posted footage of the confrontation to Facebook. Speaking with fellow conservative candidate Edwin Duterte, she called queer and trans people “racist and hateful.”
“You know what I learned from this and that’s really sad?” Saavedra said during the half-hour conversation, which was filmed using Periscope. “The LGBTQ community is hateful. […] They are bullying me. They’ve been attacking me.”
“They’ve been saying nasty things to me,” she added. “That’s bullying.”
— Edwin Duterte (@DuterteCA) May 19, 2018
Saavedra, who is running for a seat in California’s 44th district against Nanette Diaz Barragán, claimed the press has been distorting what transpired at a Los Angeles-area location of the national restaurant chain. She told Duterte, who is himself campaigning in District 43, that she wasn’t aware that the woman in the bathroom was trans when the dispute began.
“This isn’t about transgender or the LGBTQ community,” Saveedra said, adding: “They’re trying to make an issue. The media and the people are always trying to find a story, a big issue.”
What the Republican claimed happened was that while attempting to use the women’s bathroom, she heard what she called a “man’s voice” on the phone inside one of the single-occupancy stalls. Confused, she checked to make sure that she was using the correct facilities. Saavedra claimed that two Asian women dining at the restaurant confirmed there was a “man in there.”
Saying she was “scared” by the unknown presence in the bathroom, Saavedra said she reported the incident to a waitress at Denny’s. She alleged that particular location is known to have addicts use the restroom to do drugs in.
When the waitress went into the women’s room to confront the customer, the staff member returned to tell her, “He said he’s a lady.”
“He’s not a lady,” Saavedra claimed she responded. “He’s a man.”
But the Facebook Live video posted Thursday also showed Saavedra harassing the unidentified transgender woman, who is dressed in a dark hoodie and is carrying an oversized purse. When the trans customer accused Saavedra of “invading [her] privacy,” the conservative hit back: “You’re invading my privacy because I’m a woman and I deserve to use the ladies’ room.”
“You violated my right,” the conservative claimed. “You are sick and stupid.”
Before the woman left the restaurantshielding her face from Saavedra’s smartphone cameraSaavedra told the customer to use “nobody’s room” or the “transgender room” next time she visits.
“How can I be with a man inside of the ladies’ room just because he thinks he’s a lady?” the candidate told her social media followers. “This is unbelievable. Only in California, this happens. […] Every lady needs to have a stun gun and a pepper spray. Be prepared because you never know what crazy people you can find in public restaurants.”
After the viral video generated widespread criticism online, Denny’s put out a statement alleging that the trans customer wasn’t ejected because of her gender identity. The company claimed a manager spotted “drug paraphernalia on the floor.”
“In this particular case, the video of this incident does not tell the full story,” Denny’s claimed in a press release. “[…] There is no place for discrimination of any kind in our restaurants. We do apologize to our transgender guest and others in the restaurant that had to endure another customer’s disrespectful behavior.”
But Saavedra’s comments attacking the woman’s gender identitywhich include calling the trans individual a “stupid guy”don’t square with her attempts to feign ignorance.
“This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community,” she would reiterate to Duterte.
But as Right Wing Watch first reported, the co-founder of Latinos for Trump frequently singles out queer and trans people in her social media posts for ridicule. In April, she shared a screenshot of a Facebook post claiming that children are receiving “homosexual indoctrination” in their schools. Just days prior, Saavedra referred to the “homosexual agenda” as “evil.”
Jaz Saavedra for U.S. Congress 44 Dist pic.twitter.com/cTAbWVkFKW
— Jazmina Saavedra (@jazminasaavedra) April 2, 2018
— Jazmina Saavedra (@jazminasaavedra) March 29, 2018
In August 2017, Saavedra shared a meme mocking and misgendering nonbinary writer and activist Jacob Tobia (who uses gender-neutral pronouns). Tobia is pictured wearing a white dress, black bag, and brown shoes. “The liberal male of 2017: Still can’t match shoes with purse,” the caption concludes.
The post only got three likes.
— Jazmina Saavedra (@jazminasaavedra) August 25, 2017
Yet in the face of all available evidence, Saavedra has continued to insist she can’t possibly be anti-LGBTQ. Why? Because she’s got gay friends. She told Duterte that when the Denny’s incident occurred, she was “having dinner with a friend who is gay.”
“They call me ‘homophobic,’” Saavedra claimed. “How can I be hanging out with someone who is gay?”
In fact, at the beginning of the video interview, the Republican candidate brings on one of her gay supportersa little-known right-wing activist named Tom Bastasch who goes by “Gay Hannity” on Twitterto absolve her of guilt on behalf of all queer people. He reassured Saavedra that the problem isn’t her, it’s them.
“This has a lot to do with the LGBTQ community,” he said. “The LGBTQ community is unfortunately very hateful when it comes to even the hint of people attacking some sort of identity or something like that.”
Bastasch would continue to parrot her own remarks.
“The fact that everyone is making this out to be some sort of ‘hateful’ attack by you just goes to show that they’re so embedded in this world [sic] mentality of not just being a person, not just being an American, you know,” the homocon claimed. “They see themselves as an LGBTQ person.”
“At the end of the day, if she was such a homophobe, if she disliked people like me, why would she hang out with people like me?” he asked.
It seems the LGBTQ community isn’t buying it.
“Jazmine broke the law by filming in a public restroom, invading the privacy of others, and harassing a woman because she’s transgender,” said GLSEN Communications Director Chris Tuttle in a tweet responding to her Periscope video. “Everyone deserves to use the restroom in peace, and Jazmine has no place in public service with such bigoted views.”
His comment actually received more likes than the footage posted of her interview. Responses to her sitdown with Duterte have, thus far, been overwhelmingly negative.