Customers have claimed they were “traumatised” by seeing a trans woman at a popular Korean-style nude spa, but suggestions have arisen that the woman never existed.
Spa customers last week complained after a trans woman allegedly upset them by undressing in the women’s section of Wi Spa in Los Angeles.
Video of the complaint shows the spa manager asking a customer whether the woman did anything inappropriate, before the upset customer replies that the woman’s genitals were visible, according to The Washington Post.
“She was within the women’s section, which, you know, is exactly where she should be,” said Jae Red Rose, an organiser for San Diego Trans Pride.
The upscale spa is gender-segregated and nude-only.
Two customers claimed that they and two girls were traumatised by seeing the woman’s genitals.
One repeatedly asked staff why a “man” was allowed in the women’s section.
“If you don’t want your child to see a variety of bodies, don’t take them to naked spaces,” said Zac Boyer from Ohio-based LGBTQ organisation Stonewall Columbus.
Protesters gathered outside the spa on Saturday to oppose its admission of trans women, holding signs with phrases such as ‘save the children’ and chanting transphobic and homophobic slogans, but they were outnumbered by counter-protesters.
One anti-trans protester was videoed apparently pulling a gun on a counter-protester.
Despite the furore, questions have now been raised over whether a trans woman was even present at the spa at the time.
Police told the Los Angeles Blade that they have been unable to find any evidence that any trans person was there.
Admission to the spa is by appointment only, with most trans customers well known to staff, who have reported none were on the guest list on the day.
Advocates said that trans people are more likely to be the targets of harassment and violence than to pose a threat in public spaces, a situation that could be worsened by protests over their presence.
“It’s not safe for trans women to go into male spaces, and to be forced into those areas puts them at risk,” said nonbinary author Dianna Anderson.
“The bigger threat here is that trans women will be assaulted over this stuff.”
The debacle follows an incident in Australia earlier this year, where the entire managing committee of the McIver’s Ladies’ Baths in Sydney was dumped following its bungling of regulations around entry for trans women.