January 29, 2023 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Trans Incident At Wi Spa May Have Been Staged

On June 24th an Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi Spa in Koreatown, accusing them of letting a disrobed transgender person into the women’s section of the business.

In the video the woman asks an employee why the spa allows a person who identifies as a woman but has male genitalia to be exposed in the women’s section of the spa when there are underage girls in the room.

“He is a man,” the woman says repeatedly. “He is not a female, sweetie. … There are girls down there, other women, who are highly offended (by) what they just saw and you did nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, you sided with him.”

The Wi Spa employee defends the trans client. As a crowd gathers, another client also confronts the woman, defending the trans client.

I’m recent days there has been increasing doubt about the legitimacy of the video. Anonymous sources within the LAPD have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.

Similarly, a source at the Spa stated there’s no record of any of its usual transgender clients on its appointments guest list on the day in question. Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and most of its transgender clients are well known to the staff.

Several other factors cast doubt on the veracity of the claims in the video. Cubaangel’s Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly. During Cubaangel’s video, no transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made. It’s also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people. After the alleged, unconfirmed incident, Wi Spa was deluged with 1-star Yelp! and Trip Advisor reviews.

It also remains a possibility that there was a person, unknown to the Wi Spa staff, who pretended to be transgender to create an inciting incident. In 2015, anti-transgender activists in Washington State deliberately encouraged men to enter women’s facilities. One cisgender man entered a swimming pool changing area wearing only board shorts while claiming that he had a right to be there (he was removed from the premises without charges being filed).

Because of this video demonstrations over transgender rights sparked clashes between protestors and counter-protestors in Koreatown. 

Some of the protesters, according to images and videos from the scene, included apparent QAnon supporters with T-shirts that mention the term “Pedowood,” a baseless theory about a secret cabal of Satanist child abusers in government, entertainment and the media.

A lawyer representing the spa, Peter F. Jazayeri, said in a statement Saturday that the business is abiding by California law that prohibits discrimination based on “gender expression.”

The story of the spa controversy was first reported by Los Angeles magazine.

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