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A recent legal ruling has sparked a debate about transgender inclusion in a women’s only spa. Discover the background, arguments, and implications of the court decision.

In a recent court ruling, a women’s only spa has been directed to admit pre-op transgender women with male genitals, if they identify as female. The spa, which follows a Korean Christian model and mandates nudity, faced a complaint from an activist after the owner attempted to enforce a policy of admitting only biological women. This case raises questions about the intersection of gender identity, discrimination, and individual rights.

Transgender Inclusion in a Women’s Only Spa: A Landmark Ruling

The Origins and Principles of the Women’s Only Spa

The spa in question, a family-owned establishment with branches near Seattle and Tacoma, drew inspiration from Jjimjilbang, a traditional sex-segregated bathhouse in Korea. Offering monthly memberships and day passes, this spa adheres to a belief that men and women should not be present in the nude unless they are married. However, a transgender activist’s complaint led to a legal battle that challenged the spa’s female-only policy.

The Legal Ruling and Its Implications

A Washington District Court recently dismissed the spa’s lawsuit and upheld the original decision made by the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). The state of Washington, like several other Democratic-led areas, allows transgender individuals to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity. Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, in her judgment, supported the WSHRC’s ruling, stating that the spa’s attempts to prevent transgender inclusion violated anti-discrimination laws.

The Complaint and Spa’s Defense

The complaint filed by the activist, identified as Wilvich, alleged discrimination on the grounds of being a transgender woman who had not undergone sex reassignment surgery. According to Wilvich, the spa informed her that transgender women without surgery were unwelcome due to potential discomfort for other customers and staff. The spa’s owner, Myoon Woon Lee, and President Sun Lee defended their stance, emphasizing the spa’s commitment to maintaining a female-only policy for the well-being and safety of their customers and employees.


The court ruling regarding the inclusion of transgender women with male genitals in a women-only spa has ignited a broader conversation about gender identity, discrimination, and individual rights. While the spa owners maintained that their policy was rooted in cultural traditions and their Christian faith, the court emphasized the importance of inclusivity and equal treatment for all individuals. This case serves as a reminder of the evolving legal landscape surrounding gender identity and the ongoing challenges faced by businesses in balancing diverse perspectives and customer needs.

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