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Chicago: Trans man files complaint against spa

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A transgender man has filed a discrimination complaint against a Chicago, Illinois, spa after its manager told him he couldn't use the men's shower area, according to a report in The Windy City Times.

Levi Pine alleges that King Spa & Sauna's management told him he'd have to use a private shower or leave after questioning him about his gender, the report says. Pine reportedly told the manager — who gave Windy Times only his first name, John — that he didn't want a private shower and could use the same facilities as the other customers, but he was informed that other customers had complained.

Pine says he told John that he felt discriminated against. "Just because some people who go there are uncomfortable with my body shouldn't change what I have to do and shouldn't change my rights as a customer," he told the Times. He says he's angry about the situation but feels it was "an opportunity to have dialogue that wouldn't have happened otherwise."

The spa manager says he can't see a better solution other than offering Pine a private room. "The naked man in the women's spa: that is equal? I don't think so."

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer John Knight thinks Pine's case has merit, and so does Joanie Rae Wimmer, the lawyer who handled the first successful transgender case under the Illinois Human Rights Act, Windy Times notes. 

After his Ontario high school initially barred him from using the men's washroom last fall, 16-year-old transgender student James Spencer was eventually allowed to use the facilities at his Durham Region school. Spencer was told at first to use the women’s washroom or a private washroom that required a key from the main office, but he objected to the decision and started a petition in protest at Clarke High School. The petition garnered hundreds of signatures from fellow students in support of his complaint.

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