Tempest In The Wi Spa: A Case Study In Mass-Gaslighting

“If you are concerned with other people’s genitals, that is a *you* problem.”

Girl And Wheat

As if we could have one conversation that doesn’t somehow come back to your dick!

So concludes a response to women’s discomfort with men in our spaces. This was the first justification I saw trotted out in the aftermath of the Wi Spa viral video. Since then, the narrative has hopped from victim-blaming to saying the incident was staged, and finally to insisting OP made the whole thing up!

The latest coverage in the Los Angeles Blade wants to be conclusive: “Anonymous sources within the LAPD tell the Blade they have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.”

“Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and a source at the Spa told the Blade there's no record of any of its usual transgender clients on its appointments guest list on the day in question.” 

But I hear so many of them pass so well! Maybe no one noticed, right? 

“Cubaangel's Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly.” This doesn’t neccessarily follow. Some people cite their Christian faith as their motivation for being more tolerant – imagine, following Jesus’ example! And this woman lives in LA, not exactly a conservative town.

But her religion and her failure to film inside a nude sauna means we can disregard the whole thing. “No transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made.”

To obscure the very similar and more detailed story another woman wrote in 2018, the Blade throws the link to her complaint in here: “It's also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people.” 

Let’s see what ‘catering to trans people’ meant in 2018.

“I would give this place five stars a week ago but…. Last night I had the most disturbing experience in the women’s locker room.

“Upon checking in, the clerk advised us that “there was a transgender male in the women’s locker room” … Ok… No problem, I’m not the type to discriminate people, but once in the women’s area, I saw the mentioned “transgender” individual naked in all his glory, and he still had a male organ hanging there…ok…no fuzz… That surgery is very expensive

“Anyways, so I go on my routine and I get to the shower room, he was almost next to me showering too when I start to overhear hearing the conversation that he is having with a lady that was also in the shower area.

“I clearly heard him say that he has had sex with probably one hundred women and that he was looking for a female girlfriend to share his time with…. He also mentioned that he uses cocaine and LSD to “relax” … Ok…not my business what he uses to relax…”

This woman wrote this in a Tripadvisor review, and doesn’t mention informing the police. The man in her story acts totally inappropriately, but his behavior just triggers the No True Trans subroutine in her programming.

Haunted Bed

I feel a presence watching me!

“But hey, a transgender person does not act like a guy around women nor they state how much they like women nor how much they like having sex with them! This guy is Not transgender, he seems to be just a “pervie” and given his accent he is from another country, Europe I believe.”

Oh yeah, those dirty Europeans, amirite? American snobbery aside, this man’s bad manners are what qualifies him as male in her eyes.

“I heard from other ladies there that he goes there quite often.” They must feel like the luckiest ladies in LA!

“I have nothing against gay people or transgender etc. but every gay guy I know uses the men’s locker rooms when in the spa.” Most female impersonators are straight, just twisted.

“Management said that according to the Law there was nothing they could do.” And this is where we find ourselves in 2021. “Yes, they can reserve their right to provide services to anyone, that’s not against the law. They can deny entrance to this person based on his behavior, not on his gender.”

How exactly this Picasso portrait of the Marquis du Sade doesn’t get him the boot I can’t quite wrap my head around. Our intrepid author has a hard time with it, too.

“I enjoy going to the Wi Spa and it is not fair to me or other women to be put in this position where you basically have to leave the Spa because you feel uncomfortable in such situation. I wouldn’t have minded the situation at all if that guy was really transgender, but obviously he is not.” Because transgender people are all delicate flowers!

But isn’t gatekeeping transphobic?

“I’m concerned about my safety and the safety of other women in the spa.” TERF! “Like I said, I wouldn’t have minded if he was really truly transgender, and preferably without that wig he took off to wash…

Oh for fuck’s sake. That man had no right to make those women watch that.

“This is a call to the owners of the Spa to protect their valued customers, thank you.” They have apparently less than zero interest in doing this.

And the Blade has no interest in objectivity: “After the alleged, unconfirmed incident, Wi Spa was deluged with 1-star Yelp! and Trip Advisor reviews.” Oh, the humanity! This writer takes great pains to downplay any possibility of such a thing having ever happened, anywhere, ever.

But if this is what qualifies as ‘catering to transgender people,’ it’s obvious why women are upset!

Unfortunately for us, since white nationalists are also angry about the trans movement for their own reasons, no woman has any reasonable objection, ever. “The video quickly made the rounds in far-right, and Trans-Exclusionary Feminist (TERF) sites. Anti-trans ‘feminist’ websites like Mumsnet, Ovarit, and Spinster were sharing content by far-right provocateurs known for disinformation, like Ian Miles Cheong, by June 27th.”

The shoutout is nice (complete with links!) but I spend probably too much time on Ovarit and ‘TERF’ Twitter and have no idea who this person is.

However, a few prominent feminists have been getting chummy with the right, home to fundamentalists of every flavor. In a game with only two teams, falling out with liberals doesn’t make flirting with conservatives suddenly a good idea.

Eve

He says he’ll keep me warm!

Because those people are still nuts! When a suspect in the latest incident was floated, the worst elements took aim: “She received multiple death threats and harassment, including a picture of a masked man brandishing an assault weapon threatening to shoot her.”

And this is where hanging with conservatives comes back haunt us. The picture and accompanying caption are terrifying, a lot like things I have received from self-appointed TERF-hunters. The line between Mainline Republican and Conservative Nutjob has been washed away in wave after wave of corruption and pandering. Is this who we want to be seen with??

“All of this fits into an emerging pattern of the alt-right, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists,” Woa, where did this come from? I have dug into how they connect the dots from radical feminists to white supremacists, but the logic is strained and this reference comes out of nowhere.

And our Blade writer runs with it. “Violent far-right groups like the Proud Boys, the religious right, and anti-trans ‘feminists’ are collaborating and coordinating as they share the same media streams.”

As evidence for this, the Blade links to a Dame Magazine articleThe Far-Right And Anti-Trans Movements: An Unholy Alliance. This in-no-way-clickbait title heads a pile of interesting data points, such as, “violent white nationalists are separate from, but adjacent to, the Christian right.” I think we’ve all seen enough evidence in the past year’s news cycles that they are two sides of the same coin. They’ve been pretty blatant about it for a while now.

Then there’s this chestnut: “At the 2017 Values Voters Summit hosted by the Family Research Council, Meg Kilgannon outlined the religious right's plan to co-opt anti-trans feminist groups, and use their feminist-sounding language to seem more secular while hiding the true motivation behind their animus.”

This is an unflattering paraphrase of a mutual agreement. But has it ever occurred to us that the religious right are not coming into this blind? Those who tend the flame of Colonialism are not the simple folk they present themselves as.

Considering how anti-religion radical feminism is, and its absence from pretty much all radfem spaces, it doesn’t seem like this has had much internal, practical effect. But when the opposition stubbornly refuses to look into things, optics become vital to communication.

Back to the LA Blade: “Rhetoric against transgender people in popular right-wing media like Fox News has grown both more frequent, and more extreme. In April, Tucker Carlson (who serves as a gateway to the far right) declared that transgender people are a threat to the "perpetuation of the species."

Tucker Carlson’s populist gibberish is only a gateway to anything if you pretend he’s not heir to the Schwann’s Frozen Foods fortune. And it’s recently come out that he’s a well-known source for dirt on his colleagues, apparently an open secret among reporters.

Wink

Snitches get stitches, right Tucker?

Most of the radfems I know are leftists, and not the kind of person who watches Fox News.

But the LA Blade quotes Dr. Joe Mulhall, head of research at the UK's anti-extremist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, “If you talk about trans issues it opens the doors to the mainstream.”

Who knew you could run a watchdog group from under a rock? Fox may have the best ratings in cable news, but that’s the penthouse of a burning building.

Feminists appearing on right-wing platforms to defend women’s existence only to be undermined and reinterpreted shows how the left has abandoned us. These days, speaking up against anything Trans is the fastest way to lose your job, your friends and even family members.

Still, Dr. Joe insists, “The far-right are saying things they know will be echoed in the comment pages of the right-wing press."

Plenty of things in this situation are still confusing, not least of which is this comment. Since when is there a right-wing press? What happened to the liberal media??

Rich governments, Amazon, The New York Times, The LA Blade, the World Health Organization, The Olympics, GLAAD, libraries and school boards and the stuffy old BBC are all behind this. Still, they see enemies everywhere.

Regardless of right or left, things are moving forward quickly: “Flyers are circulating online advertising a second protest against Wi Spa on July 17th. “

Hey, that’s today! Police are mobilizing to prevent a repeat of last time, and I’m still not convinced that the first protest wasn’t a TERF trap.

But we can all look forward to continuing unbiased coverage in the LA Blade: Robert Lansing is a pseudonym for a long-time investigative trans researcher and writer-journalist.” 

I have my own biases, of course, but sharing a sex phenotype with half the planet is not a mental illness. Biases born of material reality are stubborn things. They don’t stop being true just because you don’t like them.

Such as women’s objection to males in our private spaces.

“It does not matter AT ALL if the person peeing next to you is doing so with a penis. If you are concerned with other people’s genitals, that is a *you* problem.” How we wish this were true! Right ladies?

Dreamy Seamstress

If only the world were perfect!

It would be wonderful not to worry whether any men were around. To just go about our business and pay them no mind. What bliss!

But of course, we’d have to be ignorant of all of human history. How men decided their penis was a weapon and wielded it to terrible effect. How they systematically raped us, locked us up as broodmares, and killed many who disobeyed.

Ignorant of how, to this day, night jogging is not a good idea. How the leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder. How ‘rough sex’ is a common defense for it.

To suddenly insist that an uninvited penis is not a flashing neon warning sign is to deny the entire history of civilization. And the most ambitious gaslighting play of all time.

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