Source: Janet Levy

The Wi Spa is an upscale Korean-style health club that proudly publicizes its recognition in 2010 as the “Best Family Fun Spa in Los Angeles.”  Just a mile from Koreatown, the facility offers hot and cold baths, “progressive” sauna rooms, massages, body scrubs, and facials in an expansive space that includes a fitness center, restaurant, and kids’ zone. No clothing is permitted — not even bathing suits — and the multilevel building has separate floors for men and women.

Last week, there was an uproar at the spa when, in all his manly glory, a biological male self-identifying as a female paraded naked in front of girls and women in the designated women’s area. Several female patrons were alarmed and offended.

A video viewed by millions on social media shows a vociferous customer confronting the front desk staff and clarifying the issue in no uncertain terms: “I just want to be clear with you,” she is heard saying. “It’s okay for a man to go into the women’s section, show his p***s around other women, young little girls, underage. Your spa, Wi Spa, condoned that.  Is that what you’re saying?” A staff member is heard responding that, despite customers’ objections, the man would be allowed to remain on the women’s floor based on his “sexual orientation.” (What was probably meant was “gender identification.”) Several customers demanded refunds and left the spa in horror and disgust. An Instagram post featuring the video encouraged people to call and complain and suggested a boycott of the Wi Spa.

In saner times — before the two preponderant biological sexes, male and female, were replaced by 72 genders — this egregious incident would have been prosecuted as indecent exposure. Not anymore. When I called the spa to make an appointment for myself and “my eight-year-old daughter,” a staffer categorically told me that even if an individual physically presents as a male with intact genitalia but states he is a woman, the spa would be required to admit him to the women’s facilities despite the presence of little girls there.

Wi Spa staff defended their decision, citing California Civil Code 51(b), which states that “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical conditions, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.” The statute does not specifically mention “gender identity,” but court cases have led to judgments that the delineated categories are “illustrative, not restrictive” and that other classifications would be protected.

Last Saturday, a peaceful demonstration against the Wi Spa for allowing a nude biological male to use the women’s section was attacked by members of Antifa, identified by their black bloc uniforms and flag. Accusing demonstrators of being “transphobic,” Antifa members assaulted them, not sparing reporters, one of whom was clubbed and another had water thrown at him. A videographer was beaten, and a Christian preacher was hit in the face with a skateboard. Some were assaulted with pepper spray. Antifa accounts on Twitter had promoted the counter-protest, asking members and supporters to “Please consider joining us as we stand against rampant transphobia in Los Angeles.” Graphics instructed members to “Smash Transphobia” and “Smash Fascism.” According to Andy Ngo, independent journalist and author of Unmasked: Inside Antifas Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, police, though present in large numbers, did not appear to be responding at all. He added that Antifa started a fire on the street as they rioted and beat demonstrators.

Since 2017, transgenders in the formerly “Golden State” have the right to access public restrooms and locker rooms according to which gender they identify with, rather than their biological sex. This is consistent with California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, prohibiting discrimination by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. But the conflation of gender with sex in law was completed by a 2020 ruling of the Supreme Court in the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Opportunity Commission case. The court essentially ruled that in federal law “sex” could be redefined to mean “gender identity.” The case per se related to sex-based discrimination in employment, but the ruling has come to provide protective status to transgenders in all kinds of circumstances, bypassing the commonly understood meaning of discrimination.

The ruling is being questioned by people believing in a broad spectrum of ideologies, from radical feminists to Christian organizations. In an amicus brief, the Women’s Liberation Front (WLF), a radical feminist organization, argues in favor of sex-based protections in the law. “If, as a matter of law, anyone can be a woman, no one is a woman,” it reasons. The WLF expresses concern that athletic opportunities for biological women and girls will be greatly reduced and women’s sports may even be eliminated altogether. It also points out that the ruling denies two realities: young girls and women are entitled to protection, privacy, and competition on a level playing field; and male entry into private female spaces (as at the Wi Spa) creates a natural fear in women.

The First Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian legal nonprofit, opposes the expansion of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 implicit in the Harris ruling. The Institute says religious liberties are unfairly undermined by the ruling since it supersedes the ability of ministries to adhere to codes of conduct consonant with their doctrinal values and endorses policies that run contrary to the tenets of their faiths.

Reasonable discourse on the issue has been made impossible by the torrents of abuse and intolerance directed at those opposing such wholesale reorientation of society through a redefinition of sex and gender. Those who criticize or oppose the ruling are smeared and silenced with “cancel culture” actions and accusations of bigotry, although their refusal to be browbeaten into embracing the new normal is based on plausible concerns about pedophilia, rape, other sex crimes, and what the future may hold in in a society with unpredictable, capricious, and nebulous gender identities. The bottom line is that the ruling is a harbinger of misguided policies that enable predation, endanger women, destroy women’s activities, and remove First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and religion. The LGBTQ+ could surely win out in many disputes, with individuals arbitrarily changing their identity to suit their purpose. Those who disagree could end up facing legal action for committing a “hate crime.”

Based on rulings and arguments in cases like Harris Homes and Bostock v. Clayton County, and bolstered by an extremist Left gender ideology, the Democrats aim to push through the deceptively named Equality Act. The bill, passed by the House earlier this year and being considered in the Senate, purports to merely prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” by formally adding the category to the Civil Rights Act. In fact, the legislation already prohibits such discrimination. The addition of the category essentially serves to eliminate biological sex as a legal distinct category. Should the bill be passed, it would abolish gender-exclusive spaces and activities and normalize situations like the one that occurred last week at the Wi Spa. And worse.

This bill should be rejected as a hindrance to equality and justice. Sensible norms of sexual identity must be restored.