Korean Women’s Spa Forced To Erase “Biological Women” From Policy After Human Rights Complaint From Trans-Identified Male

A Seattle court has ruled that a female-only nude spa lacks the “constitutional right” to bar males from their facilities. The decision comes after the spa sued the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC), which had forced them to change their sex-exclusive policy due to the complaint of a transgender patron.

Haven Wilvich.

In May of 2020, a trans-identified male submitted a complaint to the WSHRC alleging discrimination on the basis of his gender identity.

Haven Wilvich had sought a membership at the Olympus Spa in January of 2020, but had been denied on the basis that he had not undergone “gender reassignment” surgeries and his penis was fully intact.

In the complaint, Wilvich alleged his application to use the facilities at the spa had been rejected after staff told him that “transgender women without surgery are not welcome because it could make other customers and staff uncomfortable.”

The Olympus Spa, which has locations in Lynnwood and Tacoma, is a Korean-style health and wellness facility. The spa requires nudity in some of the areas, and, as such, has been reserved for female clientele.

The owner of the spa, Myoon Woon Lee, and the spa’s president, Sun Lee, are of Korean heritage and modeled the spa after the tradition of jjimjilbang. They are also Christian, and cited their faith as a reason why they did not wish to accommodate males in the facility.

In March of 2021, the WSHRC served the spa with a Notice of Complaint of Discrimination and asked the owners to respond to the claim they had acted in a discriminatory manner. Sun Lee drafted a statement standing by their women-only rule.

The family tea room at the Olympus Spa in Lynnwood, WA. Photo Credit: Olympus Spa.

Sun Lee explained that Olympus was a “family-owned women’s Korean traditional health spa” and noted that that nudity was required for certain procedures.

“We firmly believe it is essential for the safety, legal protection, and well-being of our customers and employees that we maintain adherence to this adaptation of a females-only rule,” Sun Lee wrote, also providing education on the cultural traditions of the jjimjilbang.

He concluded the response by indicating that Olympus Spa was “willing to consider a review of [its] current biological females only policy,” but that “we are unwilling to remake the ‘jjimjilbang’ haven we have worked so hard over many years to build and preserve, simply for the sake of promoting gender neutrality.”

Two weeks later, the WSHRC ruled that the spa had violated Washington anti-discrimination law, stating that the female-only policy “denies services to transgender women who have not had surgery … because their physical appearance is not ‘consistent’ with the traditional understanding of biological women.”

The spa disputed the veracity of Wilvich’s claims, asserting they had no documentation showing Wilvich had ever applied to enter the facility, and that no staff members could recall ever interacting with him.

But the WSHRC upheld their ruling, and offered the spa a Pre-Finding Settlement agreement to avoid prosecution.

The Pre-Finding Settlement required the spa to remove all references to “biological women” on their site, and provide staff with “inclusivity” training.

In March of 2022, Olympus Spa sued Andreta Armstrong, the executive director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission, asserting that the actions taken against them violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

But a Washington District Court dismissed their lawsuit on Monday, upholding the ruling by the WSHRC and affirming that the measures taken to prevent the spa from having a female-only policy were lawful.

The court offered Olympus Spa 30 days to amend their complaint and refile.

Haven Wilvich, the trans-identified male whose complaint resulted in the loss of the female-only space, boasted about his success on Facebook after the initial WSHRC ruling.

Wilvich, born Caleb Richmond, identifies as a “non-binary transgender woman,” and currently purports to be a Project Coordinator at Fred Hutch in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

In a 2020 interview, Wilvich stated he worked with clinical sites around the world on the operations of finding an effective HIV vaccine. 

Wilvich is also the founder of STANCE, the Seattle Trans and Nonbinary Choral Ensemble.

In 2022, Wilvich received a $2,000 grant from the Seattle Pride Association for providing “a vocal space free of gendered expectations, by and for transgender and nonbinary singers, to explore and express themselves through music.”

Prior to his transition, Wilvich also sat on the board of the Seattle Nonbinary Collective, and described himself as a “a tall, bearded, transfemme, King County native.”

In 2018, Wilvich was featured on a Futurism podcast wherein he lauded the idea of trans-identified males being given uterus implants for the purposes of giving birth.

The podcast description reads: “When Caleb Wilvich read about the first woman in the U.S. to have a baby via a uterine transplant in early December, they were stoked. Wilvich, who uses the pronoun “they,” has always wanted to give birth, and never had a uterus.”

Wilvich is quoted as saying: “The whole process of building that bond with a child through this period of pregnancy, through the trauma and joy of childbirth, through being there from their first moments in the world… I have so many strong emotions come up when I imagine being able to do those things.”

Olympus Spa is the third Korean spa in the United States to come into the crosshairs of the gender ideology debate over the past two years.

In 2021, a Korean spa in California made international headlines after a trans-identified sex offender had been granted access to the women’s facilities in accordance with California state law.

Wi Spa, a jjimjilbang-style establishment in Los Angeles, was the subject of viral attention after a video recorded by a female patron began circulating on social media. In the video, the woman confronts spa staff because of a nude male who was exposing himself in front of women and girls in the women’s changing room.

The incident was initially dismissed as a “transphobic” hoax by progressive commentators, but would later be verified by police who issued a warrant for the arrest of Darren Agee Merager, a registered sex offender. Merager was arrested in December of 2022.

Earlier this year, a trans-identified male launched a lawsuit against a Korean spa in New Jersey, alleging discrimination after he was told he could not use the female changing rooms.

Alexandra “Allie” Goebert was denied access to the women’s section of King Spa & Sauna in Palisades Park on the basis of his sex, a move he claims was a violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).

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Anna Slatz

Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.

Anna Slatz
Anna Slatz
Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.