What’s Current: Seattle spa for women loses right to bar men from facilities

A Seattle court has ruled that a Korean woman-only nude spa lacks the “constitutional right” to bar males from their facilities. Reduxx reports that, in 2020, a trans-identified male named Haven Wilvich (born Caleb Richmond) submitted a complaint to the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) alleging discrimination after being denied access to the the Olympus Spa. He claimed his application to use the facilities had been rejected on the basis that “transgender women without surgery are not welcome because it could make other customers and staff uncomfortable.”

In 2021, the WSHRC ruled that the spa had violated Washington anti-discrimination law, stating that the female-only policy “denies services to transgender women who have not had surgery … because their physical appearance is not ‘consistent’ with the traditional understanding of biological women.”

The spa, which has locations in Lynnwood and Tacoma, sued the WSHRC in 2022, arguing that the ruling violates their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

On Monday, Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed their lawsuit. In addition to its female-only policy, spa employees also refused to perform massages and body scrubs on naked men, according to the ruling.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.