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

Wi Spa Los Angeles Koreatown

Wi Spa is located in Koreatown on Wilshire Boulevard. They have a large LGBTQ clientele. Photo: Facebook.

UPDATE: A second, anti-trans protest erupted into violence with Los Angeles police firing rubber bullets at demonstrators Saturday.

Was a social media video posted last month about an alleged incident of a transgender woman in the women’s changing area of a Los Angeles area spa a hoax?

The viral video also led to a July 3 protest at the spa that was attended by violent, right-wing extremists, where two people were stabbed.

Under California law, it’s illegal to discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in business establishments, meaning transgender women are entitled to use a woman’s facility.

In the 4-minute video posted June 24 by a right-wing, Christian conservative Instagram user who calls herself “cubanaangel,” she confronts a staff member at Wi Spa on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown about having seen “a man with a penis” in the women’s changing area.

“I’m recording this because I’m gonna make a big deal. I’m gonna take this very worldwide,” she boasts, while berating the staff member over the queer-friendly spa’s nondiscrimination policy.

She also makes several transphobic comments to the staff member and anyone who can hear her yelling.

Transgender activist helps neglected dogs in film ‘Break the Chain’

Shortly after the video went viral in transphobic parts of the internet, members of the trans community raised questions about it:

  • Why does the footage end as the woman marches downstairs to confront this person she’s allegedly seen?
  • The woman repeatedly mentions children being exposed to a penis, but no children appear on the video and the group doesn’t appear to have any children with them.

These early doubts have been bolstered by reporting from the Los Angeles Blade. In that article, police suspect the alleged incident is a hoax because no witnesses were found who saw a trans woman at the spa, and Wi Spa says none of their trans clients had scheduled appointments that day.

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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