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Anti-trans encounter in San Francisco caught on camera

Anti-trans encounter in San Francisco caught on camera
Anti-trans encounter in San Francisco caught on camera 02:45

SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco trans woman was verbally assaulted at a Union Square restaurant and video of the incident which was streamed live over TikTok has gone viral.

Lilly Contino and her dog were having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Union Square when a woman next to her started telling jokes then offered to show Lilly the scars on her stomach. When Lilly declined, the woman threw out her first verbal jab. Contino tells us the woman said, "I'll show you what I want to show you son." 

"And, of course, as a trans person, I'm more sensitive to gender language," Contino said.

That was just the beginning. The woman goes on to describe herself as a TERF: a trans exclusionary radical feminist. Contino explains, "It means that you think you're a feminist. That you care about women's rights. You care about lesbian gay and bi, LGB but not T."

The woman then threatens physical violence saying she hits hard. Contino said, "I was just like flabbergasted. I've never been physically threatened in public. I've never been berated in public."

Contino says this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to her.

Video of the encounter quickly racked up thousands of views. Contino says the support from all of viewers helped her stay strong. She never imagined, when she moved from Georgia, she would face this kind of discrimination in San Francisco.

"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..." Contino said.

Eventually, after Contino called for the manager, she received an apology from the restaurant. She is speaking up with the hope of educating the public on trans issues.

"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.

KPIX reached out to the Cheesecake Factory for comment and have not heard back.

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