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Anti-Trans Protesters Show Up at L.A. Spa That Simply Refused to Discriminate Against Transgender Women

Transgender women are women.

Transgender flags fluttering in the wind at International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Wi Spa, a famous Los Angeles spa, has become another epicenter in the battle for transgender rights. What happened, exactly? According to The Washington Post, a transgender woman reportedly used the women’s section at a spa. That upset a customer, who then went to spa staff to complain. When asked by the spa’s manager if the woman did anything “specifically inappropriate,” the upset customer said that the woman in question exposed herself in the women’s area of the spa and that other women were traumatized.

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This upset customers’ complaint baffles on many fronts.

First of all, Wi Spa is a Korean spa, and like many Korean spas, being naked is just a part of the experience. Yes, it might be a cultural shock at first, but everyone has a body, and you get used to the naked experience in a place focused on relaxation, leisure, and health. So, you can’t get upset when someone in the spa gets naked and you see their body just like they can see yours. They paid for the experience of using the spa, just like you did, and they deserve not to be harassed because you have a problem with their nudity.

Secondly, people like this upset customer, and the protestors that gathered at the Wi Spa this weekend just can’t seem to accept that transgender women are women who are living their lives just like everyone else. And they deserve to take some time off and relax while surrounded by other women. If you don’t like other women being in women’s spaces, then the problem isn’t that transgender woman in particular. The problem is you, dear upset customer.

Basically, and if it hasn’t become clear to those reading this, if you don’t want to experience other naked bodies, then don’t go to a spa where being nude is the norm and where they don’t discriminate (like Wi Spa doesn’t) on “the basis of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.” It’s that simple and it boggles the mind that people don’t get this.

In a statement issued by Wi Spa, they pointed out that California has a law that makes “it illegal for businesses to discriminate against transgender and other gender-nonconforming people.” They continued on by saying, “Wi Spa strives to follow the law and meet the needs and safety of all of its customers.” But that didn’t stop anti-trans protesters, who turned violent, and a protester wearing an American flag bandana threatened to shoot counter-protesters.

Ultimately, trans women aren’t responsible for the vicious lies transphobes spread about them on Twitter. They’re also not silencing cisgender women or attacking young children by living their lives. Transgender women are women who deserve the same respect, kindness, and ability to get a massage, use the sauna, and then go and get a hydro-dermabrasion treatment if they chose to. What they don’t deserve is to be harassed, threatened, or made to feel uncomfortable in their own skin.

(image: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.

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