A transgender woman was verbally attacked and harassed while filming herself during a livestream at a restaurant in San Francisco — capturing the type of abuse to which transgender people are often subjected.
Lilly Contino, a trans content creator, was dining with her dog at the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco’s Union Square while live-streaming a conversation with her followers when an unidentified woman — who does not appear on camera — began harassing her, reports the UK-based newspaper The Independent.
“You know I’m a TERF, right? Trans-eccentric radical feminist,” the woman, who seems to be intoxicated based on her voice, says off-camera.
When Contino asks if she is a TERF, or a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” a term usually referring to a cisgender female who is skeptical of gender dysphoria or believes that transgender women threaten the safety of women’s-only spaces, the woman affirms: “I am a TERF.”
The woman then asks Contino if she wants her to move away, to which Contino responds, “No, actually, you should tell me about being a TERF.”
“You’re a boy, right?” the woman says, before threatening Contino with physical violence.
“Don’t f*** with me, ’cause honestly I hit. I hit hard,” the woman says.
“I’d like to see you try,” smiles Contino.
The woman then lectures Contino, telling her not to “judge” her for being a TERF, claiming, “I get to be who I want to be and you get to be who you want to be.”
She then tells Contino to “take your stupid dog, eat your f***ing food and get the f*** out of my life” before saying she will “have to label you a white racist.”
At no point does anyone — staff or other patrons — intervene to stop the harassment.
Contino then asks to speak to the manager of the restaurant, who is heard, off-camera, apologizing for the incident.
Contino later shared the clip of the encounter to TikTok, where, as of Monday morning, it had racked up 9.7 million views.
Contino told San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX that the harassment first began when the woman started telling jokes and offered to show her a surgery scar on her stomach.
Contino turned the offer down, at which point, the woman said, “I’ll show you if I want to, son.”
Contino told KPIX she never expected to encounter such hostility, especially in allegedly “queer-friendly” San Francisco, where she moved to from Georgia.
“I was just like flabbergasted,” she said. “I’ve never been physically threatened in public. I’ve never been berated in public. Part of this was just shock and disbelief that this was happening. I live in San Francisco for a reason. I live here because it’s a liberal city, it’s one of the most queer-friendly cities in the world. To have it happen in such a public place and have nobody help…”
She said she ultimately decided to share the video to educate and inform others of the hostility that transgender people often face.
“The whole goal is to make the world a better place for trans people because, even in the most liberal city in the world, trans people still have it tough,” Contino said.
Watch the video of the encounter below. WARNING: The language may be triggering for some people.
A self-identified TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) threatened me at the @cheesecake factory. I happened to be streaming at the time and caught the encounter on camera. This happened at the Union Square location in San francisco
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