Female-only nude spa forced to remove references to ‘biological women’, adopt ‘inclusive’ policy after trans complains

A Seattle court has ruled in favor of a self-described “non-binary transgender woman” — or, as some might say, a “biological male” — and ordered a family-owned, Korean female-only nude spa to adopt an “inclusive” policy.

In January 2020, Haven Wilvich, a trans activist, attempted to procure a membership at the Olympus Spa, a Korean-style health and welfare center with a strict females-only policy.

The gender-specific restriction was implemented by the spa’s owner, Myoon Woon Lee, and the spa’s president, Sun Lee, due to areas of the facility in which nudity is a must.

The spa is modeled after the tradition of jjimjilbang, Reduxx explains, and, because of their Christian faith, the pair did not want to open the spa to men.

Because his penis was fully intact, Wilvich was denied membership.

He was told by staff that “transgender women without surgery are not welcome because it could make other customers and staff uncomfortable,” Wilvich claimed in the ensuing lawsuit.

The complaint was submitted to the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) and alleged “discrimination on the basis of his gender identity,” according to Reduxx.

A Notice of Complaint of Discrimination was served to the spa, which has two locations in Lynnwood and Tacoma, in March 2021.

Sun Lee told the WSHRC that Olympus’s women-only policy was a matter of safety.

“We firmly believe it is essential for the safety, legal protection, and well-being of our customers and employees that we maintain adherence to this adaptation of a females-only rule,” he wrote, highlighting the cultural traditions of the jjimjilbang.

While Olympus Spa was “willing to consider a review of [its] current biological females only policy,” Sun Lee said, “we are unwilling to remake the ‘jjimjilbang’ haven we have worked so hard over many years to build and preserve, simply for the sake of promoting gender neutrality.”

The WSHRC responded two weeks later with a ruling that determined the spa had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

Oympus’s policy, the group claimed, “denies services to transgender women who have not had surgery … because their physical appearance is not ‘consistent’ with the traditional understanding of biological women.”

(Video: YouTube)

The spa, meanwhile, questioned Wilvich’s story, stating they had no documentation of his membership application and no one on the staff could remember ever speaking to him.

Unswayed, the WSHRC upheld their ruling and, in a bid to avoid prosecution, offered the spa a Pre-Finding Settlement agreement that would require it to scrub its website of any references to “biological women.” The staff would be required to take “inclusivity” training.

Olympus fired back with a lawsuit of its own in March 2022, against the executive director of the WSHRC, Andreta Armstrong, claiming the state agency violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

That lawsuit was dismissed on Monday and the WSHRC ruling was upheld. According to the court, Olympus does not have the “constitutional right” to deny men from joining.

Olympus Spa now has 30 days to amend their complaint and refile.

Social media reaction to the latest was swift:



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