Viral video of client upset over trans woman in MacArthur Park spa fuels dueling protests

MACARTHUR PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dueling demonstrations over transgender rights were held in front of a MacArthur Park spa Saturday, fueled by a viral video posted by a woman upset that a person who identified as female was allowed to disrobe in the women's section of the spa.

A group gathered outside Wi Spa on the 2700 block of Wilshire Boulevard for a planned protest of the spa's policy, which prompted trans rights supporters to show up for their own counter-rally. A number of confrontations between the groups ensued.

An unlawful assembly was declared at some point and the crowds dispersed quickly after that.

Nobody was arrested but at least five people were injured -- three by assault and battery and two by assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

It was not clear which side of the protest the injured people were affiliated with.

Wi Spa defended its policy in a statement to Eyewitness News, which reads in part: "Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa. Wi Spa strives to meet the needs and safety of all of its customers, and does not tolerate harassment or lewd conduct by any customer, regardless of their sex, gender, or other characteristic."

The spa added that it complies with California law, Civil Code section 51(b), which provides that "All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever."

The spa also referred to California Civil Code section 51 (e)(5), which states that: "'Sex' also includes, but is not limited to a person's gender. 'Gender' means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender expression. 'Gender expression' means a person's gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's sex assigned at birth."

"Thus, California law prohibits discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in business establishments," the spa's statement said.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.