The decade's most triggering comedy
A federal judge ordered a Korean-American women’s spa with compulsory nudity to admit men who identify as women, even if they have intact penises, in a decision on Monday.
Olympus Spa attempted to sue the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) after being ordered to remove any mention of “biological women” from their website and to admit transgender men without question. Senior District Judge Barbara Rothstein dismissed the lawsuit, upholding the WSHRC’s orders as legal and requiring the spa to comply.
Haven Wilvich, a man who identifies as a woman, complained to the WSHRC in 2020 and claimed the spa declined his membership request. Wilvich alleged that the spa said, “transgender women without surgery are not welcome.” The spa disputed this claim, stating they had no record of an application.
The family-owned spa is modeled on jjimjilbang — traditional sex-segregated bathhouses in Korea. The spa only admitted trans-identified men if they had “gone through post-operative sex confirmation surgery.”
In March 2021, the WSHRC served spa owner Myoon Woon Lee with a Notice of Complaint of Discrimination. The spa’s president, Sun Lee, explained to the commission that Olympus was a family-owned “women’s Korean traditional health spa” that required nudity for certain treatments.
“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,” Lee wrote.
The president also educated the board on the traditions of Jjimjilbang, arguing that the spa had “worked so hard over many years to build and preserve, simply for the sake of promoting gender neutrality.”
Both the owner and the president said they were Christian and cited their faith — the Christian belief in modesty between the sexes — as a reason why they did not wish to accept biological males into the women’s nude spa. Employees also involved in the suit — all of whom were women — refused to perform body scrubs on naked men, citing Christian principles as well. The District Court rejected their religious liberty claim.
The court upheld the WSHRC’s requirement that the spa removes all references to biological women from their site and subject their staff to “inclusivity” training. The spa challenged this as “compelled speech” in violation of the First Amendment, which Rothstein also rejected. The court rejected the spa’s third argument, which claimed that the WSHRC’s requirement of admitting men violated the right of association.
After the WSHRC ruling in 2021, Wilvich celebrated on social media, saying the order allowed “all self-identified women access regardless of surgery and genitals.”
“I realized something important today. I‘m more woman than any TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] will be because I am an intentional woman whereas they are only incidental,” Wilvich also said.
Before Wilvich began to transition, he sat on the board of the Seattle Nonbinary Collective, describing himself as a “tall, bearded, transfemme, King County native,” according to the Daily Mail.