'Male genitalia' policy spurs backlash at Toronto women's spa
A women’s-only, clothing-optional spa in Toronto is being accused of transphobia after a customer trying to book a service said she was told their inclusion policy won’t allow “male genitalia.”
Vi King tweeted about Body Blitz spa, which calls itself a single-sex facility, on June 9: “Tried to book an appointment for my wife @bodyblitzspa womens only spa was told theyre trans inclusion policy wont (sic) allow ‘male genitalia.’”
The tweet triggered a wave of negative feedback on the spa’s social media accounts, including one that read: “I will no longer be coming here. A place where my trans women friends are not welcome, is not a place for me.”
Body Blitz Spa, which opened in 2005 and now has two locations, provides high-end water treatments. The spa has a bathing suit-optional policy for its clients.
The spa’s owner declined to appear on camera, but released a statement that said, “We support the LBGTQ community and recognize that this is a sensitive issue. However, because Body Blitz Spa is a single-sex facility with full-nudity, we are not like other facilities.”
The statement continued: “We recognize that this is an important discussion for single-sex facilities to have and we will seek to find a satisfactory resolution.”
Online, people posted their anger and frustration over the spa’s policy.
Another Facebook commenter said, “using the reasoning that they want everyone to be comfortable in the space being naked is ridiculous as it implies that someone being uncomfortable with someone else’s body is reason enough to ban that body type from the space. This is ridiculous and is far behind the times.”
Wrote another: “Trans women don’t make me uncomfortable, but transphobia sure as hell does. Step up and do better so we can ALL enjoy your services.”
In a response on Facebook, the spa wrote that they will work with a civil rights professional over the summer to help come up with a clear and fair policy.
Others, however, supported the spa’s policy in their comments online.
One individual wrote that he will recommend the spa’s services, and encouraged the business to stick to their policy.
“Not every place has to be for everybody,” he wrote. “Men, (women) or any other group of people with like lifestyle or thought need their own places.”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission said trans people should have access to washrooms, change rooms and other gender-specific services and facilities based on their lived gender identity.
Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament Cheri DiNovo said in a statement Tuesday that trans rights are “explicitly protected” under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
“Trans women are women and trans rights are human rights,” she said.