MATTHEWS: LA spa becomes new epicenter of culture war between women, transgender-rights activists

This July 4, 2021, photo, shows the exterior of the Wi Spa in Koreatown district in Los Angeles (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Though the battle between women and transgender-rights advocates is mostly playing out in the courts, there is another front to this culture war. This front is not seen often, but it is nevertheless being quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) waged at gyms, spas and other similar places across America.

In late June, a customer at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles recorded herself confronting the staff, because they allegedly allowed someone who claimed to be a transgender woman to walk around the “women’s section” with their man parts on full display in front of women and young girls.

“So Wi Spa is in agreement with men that just say they are a woman, and they can go down there with their penis and get into the women’s section?” the woman asked incredulously as others looked on.

Though it was hard to hear their response, it sounded like the Wi Spa employee told the woman that it was state law that allowed the supposed transgender woman to do just that.

In the video, you could see another woman demanding a refund after the alleged incident. Other women were also shown standing around, clearly upset about what is said to have happened.

Outside of the employees, who were obligated to tell the woman that state law mandated they allow the alleged transgender woman the access they were given, two men were seen in the video telling the outraged woman to shut up, with one actually having the nerve to mansplain what she and other women should be comfortable seeing in a dressing room, locker room, bathroom, etc.

Not long after the video went viral, a number of dueling protests were held outside of the spa, with one of them involving Antifa thugs who attacked people who opposed the spa’s stance.

Sadly, instead of siding with the women who were distressed over having to see a naked man — who identified as a woman — in the women’s section, the L.A. Times editorial board told women, including those who have experienced sexual assault, that, yes, we understand your concerns, and yes, some religions forbid situations like what happened at Wi Spa, but your discomfort is secondary to a person’s right to identify as whatever gender they want to and to flaunt it accordingly.

“There is no doubt that Wi Spa did the right thing in defending the right of a transgender customer to be nude in the women’s area, even though the sight of male-appearing genitalia discomfited at least one female customer,” they wrote. “But no one has an absolute right to feel comfortable all the time. People have a right to use the spa, but that doesn’t include with it a guarantee that they all will feel at ease with everything they see. They might prefer a spa where a certain amount of body covering is required.”

Further, they stated that “customers of public-serving businesses should be prepared to share space with the public, in all our forms, varieties and customs. Anti-discrimination laws stand for the principle that all are welcome, whether we are comfortable or not.”

If that sounded familiar, it should. Back in May 2016, during the HB2 “bathroom bill” debate here in North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board infamously wrote that “Yes, the thought of male genitalia in girls’ locker rooms — and vice versa — might be distressing to some. But the battle for equality has always been in part about overcoming discomfort…”

Here we are over five years later, and the battle rages on. No matter what the courts decide on down the line about women’s rights and those of transgender persons, this war will never be — and should not be — over until women feel safe in gender-segregated facilities and in their chosen sport again.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.