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2nd anti-trans protest turns violent at Wi Spa in Los Angeles

Wi Spa Anti-trans Protest

For the second time in less than a month, an anti-trans protest erupted into violence outside Wi Spa, a Koreatown spa that has defended its trans-inclusive policy. This image is a photo of one of their interior spaces in the spa. Photo: Wi Spa Facebook.

For the second time in less than a month, an anti-trans protest erupted into violence at a Koreatown spa that has defended its trans-inclusive policy.

That policy also is compliant with California law, particularly The Unruh Civil Rights Act, also known as California Civil Code Section 51. It protects people, including transgender and gender non-conforming people, in all business establishments from discrimination based on age, ancestry, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

Was alleged trans incident at Wi Spa in Los Angeles a hoax?

Saturday marked the second weekend of violent protests in two weeks in the streets around Wi Spa, a neighborhood business that has been thrown into the center of a right-wing media storm over an alleged incident in which a customer filmed herself complaining about a trans woman in the women’s area of the spa.

However, officials at the Los Angeles Police Department and the spa suspect the alleged incident was a hoax.

The first protest took place July 3.

Dozens of people were arrested at the Saturday protest near the intersection of Wilshire and South Rampart boulevards, The Guardian reports.

The Los Angeles Police Department also is under scrutiny from footage showing officers in riot gear attacking and firing rubber bullets at demonstrators during the protest, which was organized by anti-trans groups.

For hours on Saturday, the neighborhood around Wi Spa was filled with lines of police in riot helmets and clashes between police and protesters, with reports of less-lethal weapons being used against the trans rights and anti-fascist activists who showed up as part of a counter-protest against the far-right demonstrators, The Guardian reported.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said police made several dozen arrests for failure to disperse after declaring an unlawful assembly shortly after 11 am.

Police also appeared to fire rubber bullets at trans rights demonstrators from a close distance, despite a recent judge’s ruling restricting the department’s use of certain “less lethal” projectile launchers against protesters.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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