The incident of a transgender woman appearing nude in a clothing-optional women's area of a Los Angeles spa may have been staged, the Los Angeles Blade is reporting.
The incident supposedly happened June 24, when an Instagram user going by Cubana Angel posted a video of her complaining to a staff member at Wi Spa about the trans woman, referring to her as a man, and saying women and girls in the area were offended by the sight of the trans woman's genitals. Cubana Angel was upset that spa personnel supported the trans woman, and she said, "There ain't no such thing as transgender."
The video circulated on websites for far-right groups and trans-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs. It led to protests by both trans-supportive and anti-trans demonstrators the following weekend and to an editorial in the Los Angeles Times endorsing trans people's right to public accommodations. Several right-wing media outlets, however, have characterized the matter as an example of trans rights going too far.
But now a Blade contributor, a trans activist and journalist writing under the pseudonym Robert Lansing, says the whole thing may have been an elaborate hoax.
"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," Lansing wrote in an article published Wednesday. "Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and most of its transgender clients are well known to the staff."
Also, anonymous sources with the Los Angeles Police Department told Lansing there's no corroborating evidence that a trans person was at Wi Spa that day. No obviously trans person can be seen in the video, and no other clients have offered evidence either, according to the article. A woman falsely accused of being the trans woman who so offended Cubana Angel has been harassed and received death threats, the writer noted.
"It also remains a possibility that there was a person, unknown to the Wi Spa staff, who pretended to be transgender to create an inciting incident," Lansing continued. "In 2015, anti-transgender activists in Washington State deliberately encouraged men to enter women's facilities. One cisgender man entered a swimming pool changing area wearing only board shorts while claiming that he had a right to be there (he was removed from the premises without charges being filed)."
Cubana Angel's Instagram posts are "almost exclusively Christian memes," so it's strange that she would go to a spa known for its friendliness to LGBTQ+ people, Lansing added.
The Advocate has sought comment from Cubana Angel but has yet to receive a response.