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.

Women Out In The Cold: Hey Ohio, You Decent?

As much as I hate to admit it, I grew up in Ohio.

Classy Dame

A classy dame like me? Weird, I know!

For a long time people called it America’s Weathervane. A hub of midwestern culture, Ohio picked the President every election from 1960 until this last one.

Despite my six years in Tennessee, I watched with great interest as  State Representative Jena Powell spoke before the Ohio Legislature in defense of women’s rights. She’s a Republican, of course. Representative Powell may not be the best feminist spokesperson, but the aggressive, frightening reaction she triggered made my blood run cold.

She was given the floor to introduce an amendment called the Save Women’s Sports Act, “a fairness issue for women to be able to achieve their dreams in athletics in our state, and is crucial to preserving women’s rights and the integrity of women and girl’s sports.”

As she talks about the girls losing out on opportunities across the country, the first objection is heard from the room: “Point of order!”

Before she finishes her sentence, someone begins banging loudly, could be a book on a table.

“This amendment will require schools that are part of the OHSAA – “

More shouting, each word punctuated with another thunderous bang, “Point! Of! Order!”

” – to designate separate teams – “

The shouting and banging become continuous, making Jena fight for every word.

” – for the biological sex. No school inters…” She only pauses briefly, long enough to shoot a withering look at whoever is interrupting her. “No school interscholastic conference or organization – “

The banging continues, but I guess he needed to catch his breath.

” – that regulates interscholastics shall permit biological males – “

The banging quickens, the same voice braying over it now in short, wordless bursts.

” – participate on an athletic team or in athletic competitions designated only for biological female participants.”

The howling carries on, there’s some shuffling and maybe one or two others begin banging on tables. Eventually, the Chairman is forced to stop her and address the issue.

Grownups Were Talking

The grownups were talking, darling! What is it??

The video isn’t very long and cuts off before we learn more. What was the Point of Order?? I need to know!

Extra info is scarce but, according to the local ABC affiliate, Representative Powell tacked her amendment onto a bill that had already passed the State Senate. Their bill was aimed at giving college athletes the right to profit from schools’ use of their likeness.

Jena’s amendment looks a bit out of place, but her own bill has been stalled in committee. And time is running short.

ABC says the Ohio Senate went around her the very next night, attaching the college profit scheme as an amendment to an unrelated bill. I guess they can’t be mad at her for that! But shouldn’t legislators be expected to show relevance like lawyers do? This kind of agenda-juggling erodes a lot of confidence in government.

And the sound of the baboon-level freakout coming from the State Representative off-camera is harrowing for a couple of reasons. The mental image is conjured up of a red face, gnashing teeth, books and papers flung here and there as you listen to them thrash around.

Aside from the unhinged nature of this performance, it’s even scarier if this is coming from the so-called ‘liberal’ party. All because a woman spoke up to defend our rights!

We know we can’t depend on conservatives to stand firm for women outside of our right to do Girly Things. Their moral panic working in our favor for once doesn’t mean they will suddenly support our bodily autonomy.

Chasing A Fantasy

Hey Judy, how you been? Still chasing that fantasy, I see!

The fight over abortion and birth control is still raging, and Ohio is one of the worst offenders. Abortion is illegal in Ohio before many women even know they’re pregnant, thanks to the infamous Heartbeat Bill.

Representative Powell might want to ask them about that, too.

Because with Dems completely beholden to gender activism and few progressives in sight, being a woman is a pretty embattled position at the moment.

We’re going to visit family in Ohio over the July 4th holiday. It’s been a while, the kids are in for a treat. I’m nervous for lots of reasons, but that’s nothing new. It’s strange to be going home and leaving it at the same time.

Beyond politics, life goes on. A lot has changed in the last six years, but some things never do. As the culture war imitates the Summer weather, checking in with a few of them is sounding better all the time.

Dear Transwomen: Cyberpunk Is Not About You, Either

When your identity is built on a lie, reinforcing it is a constant preoccupation. This obsession bleeds into everything you do.

Angry Cry

I’m a pretty girl, I’m a pretty girl…

One Stunning&Brave soul calling himself Bella Blondeau shares his view through a trans lens darkly. The game Cyberpunk 2077 strikes him as pretty transphobic, and he would know!

But while trying to illustrate transphobia in gaming, Bella actually demonstrates his lack of understanding of gender theory or the real world he’s so desperate to avoid. He complains that the game is an “insidious attack on trans personhood” because characters are chosen based on the player’s voice.

“It doesn’t matter how you look, how you dress, how you name your character. If you sound a certain way, that’s the gender you are.” Of course, this is a terrible trigger for the Vocal Minority: “Vocal training is one of the shittiest parts of transitioning … Oh, and you know, systemic oppression is also a real bitch.

You noticed that, huh? Why anyone would volunteer for this has always boggled my mind.

Not that he understands the details of women’s experience, anyway. The one example he gives is garbage “Voice is a codified gender and sexuality signifier in our culture – and a toxic one, at that … If you’re a woman with a deeper voice, you’re a ‘lesbian’ or ‘mannish.’

Barbarella

Just because I show some strength, I must be a man??

Really? I’m sure bombshells like Kathleen Turner (voice of Jessica “I’m Just Drawn That Way” Rabbit) would be very interested to learn this!

Only deep-voiced characters can be identified as male, while higher-pitched characters are identified as female, which purports the harmful idea that people’s genders can be identified by certain traits.

When he gets excited, Bella trips on the pseudointellectual tick of tossing in smart words without looking them up first. Even better, this tormented sentence also exposes the silliness of trans identity – If gender can’t be identified by certain traits, why are you so worried about vocal training??

This ‘game review’ is just line after line bellyaching how Cyberpunk 2077 makes Bella play a male character because his voice doesn’t pass!

“…Also how limited the genital options are, and how they’re intrinsically tied to an extremely cis, extremely heteronormative view of human bodies.” It’s almost like most players aren’t looking to reinforce their shaky sense of themselves through the character engine of a random sci-fi game…

He goes on to critique the worldbuilding, so I guess he trudged valiantly through the dysphoria and created a character eventually.

The majority of the characters appear to be cisgender and heterosexual.

So, just like the real world.

But, no! While our Storyteller wants to pass seamlessly, the Representation must be clear: “It seems odd that reviewers who have played anywhere from 40 to 60 hours have yet to encounter any meaningful trans NPCs.” Hang on, isn’t clocking them transphobic, anyway??

I can’t say if the game is any good, but Bella’s review is a beautiful crystallization of a growing trend – A personal Journey so enchanting, every observation feels like a consciousness-raising incantation.

Cleo

We are not impressed!

This brings on a strange, untroubled sharing of passing thoughts. The verbal diarrhea has a snarky tang, but it’s actually quite sad.

“Every introduction, every phone call, every order in a restaurant is something to agonize over. Even when I’m having sex, I’m conscious of every moan and murmur that comes out of my mouth.”

Oh, honey, no. This is a real-time description of someone who doesn’t know how to form a genuine, uncalculated connection with anyone. This is the very definition of a narcissist.

Cyberpunk is a genre …  birthed from an ambition to play around with race, gender, and sexuality through the lens of rapid modernization.

This is debatable. I’m still waiting to learn what androids dream about! Dark science fiction pushes the edges of what makes us human to see if we are more than the sum of our components.

Good cyberpunk media uses that encroaching creep of technological evolution to show the good, the bad, and the ugly of the loss of organic personhood that comes with that.”

Another fundamental misunderstanding. Strong, popular cyberpunk like Blade Runner and Black Mirror has deep roots in an underlying organic agency. It drives the story. We can be distracted, spoiled or broken, but the individual’s will to thrive is always what the Baddies are trying to bury.

I suppose you miss a lot when your internal RAM is all used up running a Woman Emulator. And maybe trading what Nature gave you for Gender Affirmation puts one in questionable Cyberpunk company.

Works like Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex show us that our sentimental attachment to a sense of self is ultimately meaningless in the face of powers that depersonalize, dehumanize, and eventually destroy us.

Laser Eyes

You will submit… Your credit card info for your free trial!

The Man doesn’t even care about our feelings! For whatever reason (perhaps advancing age) I’m reminded of Coleman’s advice to Billy Ray Valentine in the anti-capitalist classic Trading Places – “Just be yourself. Whatever happens, they can’t take that away from you.”

Everyone from movie butlers to Holocaust survivors references a deep, resilient vibrance in the human heart. Bella Blondeau seems to have misplaced his among the affirmations.

It’s something I can’t escape, even at my most intimate and vulnerable moments, and I’m not alone in that.” Not when you and your loud comrades work so hard to bring us all along for the ride!

This may be shocking to some tender sensibilities, but a trans perspective is not vital to every discussion. Cyberpunk is not about you!

Warning: Violence Against Gender Criticals Erupts In Canada

Just a quick note of warning to readers and the wider feminist community.

Billboard Dad

“We are making progress with a persistent campaign to spread awareness about the harm coming to children from puberty blockers.”

This afternoon in Montreal, a man who calls himself Billboard Dad was out doing his thing. Interestingly, that thing is protesting the Canadian government’s stance on gender politics.

I was having peaceful conversations on Saint-Catherine Street, joined by a local man. A bunch of these thugs suddenly swarmed me, I’m told there were about 7.

He got footage of several people surrounding him, one of them shouting, Transphobes, fuck off! while hitting Billboard Dad with a traffic cone!

I took one punch to the face and one right hook to the back of my head from that big guy, but I’m hard-headed so no worries.

I’ve got a messed up forearm, a fat lip, and a popped vein in my hand, but this is nothing compared to what’s happening to children across this country. If criminals think an assault is going to slow me down, they’re dead wrong. Children Cannot Consent to Puberty Blockers!

A catchy slogan didn’t protect him from crazy. 

I don’t know if this kind of thing has happened before, there have been rumblings here and there. But the pure rage coming from Traffic Cone Man made my blood run cold.

If words are violence, hitting back becomes reasonable.

My left forearm is broken, but I feel worse for my new friend who came out to support.

I have a very annoying cast that goes up over my elbow to keep my arm at 90 degrees but whatever. I don’t need two functioning arms to have conversations.

They have been threatening us for a while now. We need to be on alert.

But we can’t hide from this. For one thing, they have shown that they will find us. But mostly, together we are strong.

We all know who women are and what we need. Brace yourselves, sisters – The collision is coming!