A womens’- only day spa in Washington State has been ordered to accept transgender women with penises in their nude pool and spa areas.
Seattle District Court Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein upheld a discrimination ruling against Olympus Spa filed by local trans activist Haven Wilvich. Wilvich, who has never actually gone to the spa, filed the complaint after making a phone call to the spa and was told that “pre-op trans women were not allowed.”
According to Wilvich, spa employees said “transgender women without surgery are not welcome because it could make other customers and staff uncomfortable.”
“They were breaking Washington state law and I reported that violation,” the activist said.
The case is particularly contentious as it is a spa exclusive to women with nudity actually required in certain areas.
The company’s webpage states that nudity is required in the pool area, but patrons can wear a cap and gown in other areas of the spa.
Wilvich originally filed the suit in February 2020, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) agreed that the spa discriminated against Wilvich based on “sexual orientation.”
At the time, Wilvich celebrated the win on social media sites, talking about being more woman than TERFs, the acronym that stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.
“I’m more woman than any TERF will ever be because I am an intentional woman whereas they are only incidental,” the activist wrote.
In March 2022, Olympus Spa and its owner, Myoon Woon Lee sued the Washington State Human Rights Commission, alleging that enforcement of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) “requires them to service nude males and females in the same rooms” and thus forces them to “choose between violating the law or their religious convictions.”
“As traditional, theologically conservative Christians, the president and owners believe in modesty between the sexes,” the lawsuit states. “They hold the conviction that a male and a female should not be in each other’s presence while in the nude unless married to each other. Women are in a vulnerable position when they are unclothed and/or having treatment while unclothed, and we seek to ensure that they feel their privacy and rights are respected. This is a biblical principle from 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 1 Timothy 5:2, Phillipians 4:3, Genesis 1:27, Proverbs 31:17, Phillipians 2:3, and more.”
Olympus Spa is a family-owned women’s Korean traditional health spa. The spa’s owner said that nudity is required for some procedures, and that they firmly believe it is essential for the safety, legal protection, and well-being of their customers and employees that they maintain this females-only rule. They stated that enforcement of the WLAD, “which would require females in a state of nature to remain in the presence of naked males,” violates their right “to selectively enter into and carry on intimate or private relationships—or refrain from such relationships.”
Citing Washington’s laws on lewd conduct, facilitating lewd conduct, and public indecency, Lee conveyed his fear that exposing female customers (especially minors) to male genitalia could subject Olympus Spa to criminal penalties. The spa allows girls as young as 13 to use their facility.
In her ruling, Rothstein states that the WSHRC defines “sexual orientation” as including those whose “gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”
She further states that while a “considerable amount of private or intimate association” may occur in a nude day spa, the basic controlling fact is that “Olympus Spa is a business that provides services to the public” and like restaurants and other places of public accommodation is thus not allowed to “practice discrimination when the government has barred it from doing so.”
The judge dismissed the case. Following the decision, a rally was held outside Olympus Spa, where nearly 100 pro-female-onlyspace demonstrators gathered to protest, carrying signs reading “Save Women’s Spaces,” and “Trans ‘women’ are men.”
The highly anticipated rally was marked by a significant police presence, as fears of physical confrontation ran high among both protesters and counter-protesters Tracy Tribbett , an attorney for Olympus Spa, said they plan to refile the complaint, with the aim of eventually taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
‘It will go to a panel in the Ninth Circuit, and then it will be reviewed there,” Tribbett said. “If we obtain the same outcome, then we will appeal to the Supreme Court for review.”