Chicago woman who calls herself a “fag”, files complaint against spa for preventing her from showering with men

December 14, 2012

Levi Pine

Levi Pine

Chicago woman Levi Pine, a boycott organizer for service-industry union UniteHere, filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights after she was asked to leave the men’s shower facilities in a public spa. Pine, who is female, has been cosmetically using synthetic testosterone for the last year to masculinize her appearance, but has not undergone any surgical alterations nor has she attempted to change her legal sex marker.

According to the Windy City Times (which uses male pronouns for Pine):

“When he went to the spa on Dec. 9 with a friend, he used the men’s shower facilities. Pine said the manager approached him while he was naked and asked to speak with him.

Both the manager and Pine tell the same story about what happened next.

The manager, who identified himself as John but declined to provide a last name to Windy City Times, questioned Pine about his gender. Pine told John that he was transgender, and John said he could provide Pine with a private shower.

Pine said he did not want a private shower and that he could use the same facilities used by other customers. But, John said, other customers had complained.

“We only have a men’s spa and a women’s spa,” John told Windy City Times.

John said he recognizes that transgender people are a minority, and said that he treats all of his customers the same. But he didn’t want other customers to feel uncomfortable, he said.”

In a post on “Queer” website Bilerico titled “Bathing In Discrimination” Pine explains “I’ve been taking testosterone for about a year and I’m pretty hairy but otherwise intact as I came. This weekend, I was in my full hairy birthday suit in the men’s wet spa area of King Spa & Sauna just outside Chicago when a fully clothed manager approached me. While I was naked, he asked me if I am male or female. I explained that I am transgender.”

The manager asked her to use the areas set aside for female-sexed bathers, and offered an alternative: a private bathing area.

When I refused, he had me talk to some “marketing” guy on the phone who told me that they “could not accommodate my special needs,” that they “needed to appeal to a wider audience,” and that if I wouldn’t move into a private room I’d have to leave.

I insisted that I had no special needs, that all I wanted was access to the same facilities as every other paying customer. That didn’t change their minds. I asked the manager to look me in the eyes like I’m a human being. He wouldn’t. They gave me a partial refund.”

Pine compares her “right” as a female to bathe with men in a public spa with the Civil Rights Movement, and ends her post with a call for a boycott of the spa, also stating: “Call them, email them, write bad Yelp reviews about them.

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects the rights of individuals who proclaim social sex-roles as a form of personal identification, but the Act also contains a public accommodations exemption for sex-segregated areas of public nudity.

The 2005 Act defines sex-role identification (“Gender Identity”) as a form of sexual orientation:

“Sexual orientation” means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth. “Sexual orientation” does not include a physical or sexual attraction to a minor by an adult.”

The exemption for public accommodations which are “distinctly private in nature” reads as follows:

“ (775 ILCS 5/5-103) (from Ch. 68, par. 5-103)

    Sec. 5-103. Exemption. Nothing in this Article shall apply to:

    (A) Private Club. A private club, or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of the establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of another establishment that is a place of public accommodation.

    (B) Facilities Distinctly Private. Any facility, as to discrimination based on sex, which is distinctly private in nature such as restrooms, shower rooms, bath houses, health clubs and other similar facilities for which the Department, in its rules and regulations, may grant exemptions based on bona fide considerations of public policy.

    (C) Inn, Hotel, Rooming House. Any facility, as to discrimination based on sex, which restricts the rental of rooms to individuals of one sex.”

The Windy City News quotes transgender attorney Joanie Rae Wimmer as proposing that Sex-Role Identification overrides Sex-based exemptions. Wimmer’s legal opinion is that the rights of men and women who personally identify with sex-roles normally assigned to those of the opposite sex overrides the rights of others to sex-segrated showers. From the article:

“The Illinois Human Rights Act does make exceptions for the case of “sex” in locker rooms, health clubs and other settings. But Wimmer said she believes that exception only applies to “sex” and not to “gender identity,” two different protected categories.

John Knight, LGBT project attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, echoed similar sentiments.

Assuming Pine’s version of events are true, he said, “I think certainly, he’s got a valid claim.”

“It’s stigmatizing. It’s not fair treatment,” Knight said. “That would violate the Human Rights Act, to force him into a private facility.”

Pine’s state identification marker does not say “male,” a fact that Knight says should not change his case.

Pine has filed an IDHR complaint against the spa, sent a letter to the spa and notified the Cook County Department of Human Rights. Pine said he simply wants an apology, and wants the spa to adopt a new trans-friendly policy.

“As mad as I am, I feel like this was an opportunity to have dialogue that wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” said Pine.

John, the spa manager, says that if there is a better solution than offering a private room, he does not see it.

“The naked man in the women’s spa: that is equal?” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Joannie Rae Wimmer- Sex-Role Identification overrides Sex-Based Protections

Joannie Rae Wimmer- Sex-Role Identification overrides Sex-Based Protections

The Illinois Human Rights Commission will have to rule on Wimmer’s assertion, and decide whether – in Illinois at least- personal identification with a particular sex-role, regardless of legal sex, overrides the public’s right to sex-segregated areas of public accommodation in spas and locker rooms, etc. throughout the state.


kids spa levi pine

King Spa Kid’s Discount

King Spa men's shower area

King Spa men’s shower area

45 Responses to “Chicago woman who calls herself a “fag”, files complaint against spa for preventing her from showering with men”

  1. Anon Male Says:

    You know who’s been boycotting spas for a long time now?

    Poor people.

    It’s so fun that this person is a *professional* boycotter though and *this* is the best s/he could come up with?

    It must be nice to have a “save the world” type job that requires zero personal sacrifices, no manual labor, a safe office environment, and complete mainstream upward mobility. And it seems like all of these people end up in positions like this.

    • snickerdoo Says:

      You have no idea what Levi does as a job, and I assure you there is both labor and sacrifice involved. And did you see that the spa costs $25 for an entire day? Can you READ? Stop being a presumptive turd.

  2. EqualRightsAndProtection Says:

    In this case, management should have called the police. This is a clear case of indecent exposure.

    • snickerdoo Says:

      Three words: IT’S A SHOWER. How is a trans man a threat to biological non trans men who are the oppressors of every other gendered person?

      • liberalsareinsane Says:

        They don’t want to see your snatch, hon. They also do not want to share space with a loon whom, I’m sure, would cry “rape” at any little perceived slight. Go shower under a rusty drain and see a mental health professional for your, uh, confusion.

        Helpful Hint: People with a vagina shower in a room labelled ‘women’ and people with a penis shower in a room labelled .’men’.

      • Adrian Says:

        Hint: Those kind of places don’t want regular wimmin in the showers either. Good ol’ boys frathouse clubby “we’re all chums and we swim in the nude but we’re not gay, no, it’s just tradition” type social spaces definitely are No Girls Allowed. Including F2T.

      • Waterbird Says:

        Yeah, snick! The whole “we don’t wanna see your breasts, ‘snatch’, waist, legs, whatever, hon” thing is a big wah-wah. Going to have to do better than that.

        Women don’t want men in their space not because women just don’t want to see one particular body part on one particular earth creature, but because men have a weapon called a *penis*. They rape with it. Women have no equivalent. In a rape culture, females have no recourse and males hold the cards.

        Females don’t want to be around men’s only places because men’s only places are dangerous. Unless said woman is hopped up on Testosterone and in some position of moderate Orwellian power. I wish I could think that this will work out in women’s favor in court regardless of the fact that a gov’t tool created the evidence for the case, but seems like there’s already a plan for the spa to use “intersectionality” in defense.

        “We’re Korean and do it this way.”

        Fine. Are we expected to not really pay attention and just see a transman getting smacked down and figure we can shut up now cause it’s all equal?

  3. Marie-France Lesage Says:

    Well there’s bad news and there’s good news:

    Half of the world has gone crazy, but the other half is trying to hang on to reality.

    Common sense tells us that a female body is…drum roll please…female.

    Wishing, hoping, declaring, foot-stamping, document manipulating, fist-shaking, boycotting, hormone abusing, etc. will NOT change this fact.


    • So you mean to tell me (I want to get this right!), if it’s a XX like a woman, has baby bearing hips like a woman, and has the internal workings of a woman…she’s a woman?

      • Becky Green Says:

        Hey, stop using logic! Don’t you know there’s no place for rational thinking in this modern world!

      • MPLS BearDaddy Says:

        Sometimes, it ain’t a man nor a woman.

        I bet you know a feller or two with some big ‘ol hips too. I’ve certainly seen my fair share of fat ‘lil bitch men who look like they could be impregnated.

        Is your faggot husband one of them? Is that why you need these Levi Pine freaks kept away, cuz you’re frightened they’re might be more MAN than your father ever was? Or are you just pissed because he’s out there living while you’re stuck in the kitchen?

      • Adrian Says:

        @MPLSBearDaddy – Yeah, “sometimes,” in a vanishingly small number of cases.

        Most trans* people aren’t intersex, and they really need to stop appropriating intersex experiences to make their arguments.

      • Beth Says:

        No MPLS Bear Daddy, don’t bring intersex people in this. Intersex people are NOT transsexual. They are born with a genetic mutation where their genotype and phenotype sex characteristics are reversed or ambiguous. Trans were born with perfectly functional sex organs that they don’t like. Not ambiguous at all. Certainly not something that needs medical intervention.

        Levi hates her vagina. MtT’s hate their penises. Maybe because of some childhood trauma, serious mental illness or societal pressure. Most people have issues with their genitals. Men worry it’s not big enough, women worry their vagina’s are too wide. Sometimes I get dysmenorrhea and wish I could be a male because the pain is excruciating. Does that make me trans too?

        Your whole argument is idiotic. Humans are bi-pedal hominids, the fact that some people are born without legs and arms does not change this fact. Humans are binary sex mammals. There are male and female reproductive organs and sex chromosomes. The fact that some are born with ambiguous genitalia/chromosomal abnormalities does not change this fact. Intersex is the exception not the rule.

        Also, nice misogynistic comments. Very helpful.

    • snickerdoo Says:

      HI Marie-France: HERE’S A WAKE UP CALL. YOU ARE UTTERLY TRANS-PHOBIC. It’s 2012, get a life, and get a clue. Read a book or two. In any case, try and stop being an ignoramus.

      • Becky Green Says:

        You, Snickerdoo, are an idiot! Read a biology book and put down the fairy tales.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Snickerdoo I posted and linked to a trans person’s editorial about Levi’s complaint in this thread below. What say you?

      • Marie-France Lesage Says:

        Say it loud! I’m transphobic and I’m proud!


      • Marie-France Lesage Says:

        Ooops, GM. Just saw your request down the thread. Please remove my post just above if you feel it will be too tit-for-tat. I’ll be mature now. 😉

      • GallusMag Says:

        @MarieFL- You’re fine hon but thanks. It’s hard not to respond to such awful comments. Normally I wouldn’t approve them but I think it is illuminating to hear the comments from Levi’s F2T friends and supporters so I decided to approve them. In fact, I’ve approved all of them, so, no comments that are NOT stupid, abusive and incredibly female-hating (self-hating) from the F2T crowd so far. Sad, but illuminates the self-hatred of female transitioners. If any F2T friends of Levi want to post something sensible that would be awesome but I won’t hold my breath.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Actually I would love to have some thoughtful responses from F2T on this case. *Sigh

  4. GallusMag Says:

    From Trans Activist and PlanetTransgender blogger Kelli Busey:

    “Friday, December 14, 2012

    Chicago TransMan Levi Pine’s Complaint Against King Spa is Wrong

    A Chicago man has filed a discrimination complaint against the King Spa and Sauna for denying him the use of the men’s shower, pictured right. According to the Windy City Times Levi Pine felt degraded after the manager approached him while he was naked asking to speak with him.
    The manager, who identified himself as John but declined to provide a last name to Windy City Times, questioned Pine about his gender. Pine told John that he was transgender, and John said he could provide Pine with a private shower.

    Pine said he did not want a private shower and that he could use the same facilities used by other customers. But, John said, other customers had complained.
    So I was curious, are youth allowed in the King Spa and Sauna so I called the Chicago facility.

    The service representative told me children under 12 are allowed as long as they are accompanied by an adult of the same sex. Children over 12 after being admitted with an adult are allowed unrestricted access to the faculty.

    “I shouldn’t have to be sequestered into a private area,” Pine later told Windy City Times. “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.”

    The nity gritty. Transgender men have become used to identifying there Sexual Reassignment Surgery as a breast reduction and reconstruction and in addition to affects of hormone replacement therapy most trans men ‘pass’ easily. Until you drop you’re drawers then passing becomes problematic.

    The lone commenter on the Windy City Times, Amber, made a argument for his rights to use public accommodations as did John Knight, LGBT project attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and my good friend Attorney Joanie Rae Wimmer.

    Amber makes a case for blind justice for transgender rights but in this case I think the blinders should come off.

    Pine probably has a valid case under law but..
    My 2cents…..

    Mr. Pine is ether ignorant about the Spa’s policy on admitting children, caught up in the cause or he’s just uncaring.
    I feel we have a moral responsibility as do the vast majority of those previously polled regarding nudity in public accommodations with to respect children.

    It’s not optional, it’s not a case of discrimination regardless of consequences, its our duty as citizens if a person has not had bottom surgery, full nudity must be considered a condition reserved for consenting adults. If children are present or the possibility exists a child could enter the room under those conditions, it’s not just wrong, it’s immoral.”

    • Marie-France Lesage Says:

      As others have pointed out before me, it might not be traumatic for small boys to see naked women, as they have, for the most part, been changing and bathing with at least one woman present since birth: Mama!

      Pubertal and post-pubertal boys/men might find it very traumatic and humiliating.

      However, the REAL danger is always males in with the young girls. We can pretend that males and females are a multiple-choice question in our heads until the moon turns into a nice, sturdy cheddar but: MALES RAPE FEMALES.

      Yes. There. I said it. 95% of rape victims are female and 98% or more of rapists are male.

      While this Pine character is acting out her self-hate and sexual confusion in public with typical “trans” histrionics, she is also doing something else: ENDANGERING females, especially female minors.

      I understand that it’s now “out of fashion” (!!!!!) to admit that RAPE is in large measure why we started having sex-segregated facilities in the first place, but I’m not interested in following this insane fashion. I’m interested in protecting the smaller and weaker among us from raping pricks.

      Telling raping pricks that all they have to do to enter a chamber full of naked girls and women is to put on some lipstick and claim “trans” is a NIGHTMARE for females — we have already had case after case of these monsters donning female attire or affecting female-ness in order to have access to their preferred prey.

      Hey, Pine: you’re working hard to enable rapists! Proud of yourself?

      • GallusMag Says:

        It’s interesting – John the spa manager IMMEDIATELY “went there”- disputing the idea that men in women’s showers are a matter of “equality”. He seemed to immediately see where this whole thing was going: Men with dicks in women’s showers.

        In a way it is absolutely brilliant for trans activists to use female trans to divert from the “elephant in the room”: the dangers to women caused by males in sex-segregated areas of public nudity. Using a woman as a test case removes the threat to women- or at least obscures it. Levi and company are the ultimate handmaidens of the male agenda, which makes sense since they worship males so much they want to “be” male.

  5. GallusMag Says:

    I guess all hairy females are “men” now in the Genderist Age.

    Also, LMAO if Levi thinks the “G” portion of the LGBT is going to boycott spas or public baths that don’t allow females into the mens.

    • snickerdoo Says:

      You’re amazingly stupid. Impressive! Now go read a book on trans people written by a trans person. I suggest Kate Bornstein.

    • Adrian Says:

      Well, my admittedly hairy self kinda hopes not! 🙂 (What is this “middle aged” thing, I mean, I always had hairy legs and armpits but now I’m growing CHIN hair!!)

      Meanwhile though… I live in Illinois, have had the same job for ages, and by random chance happen to have seen two transitions happen at work, one M2T and the other F2T. Neither of the people involved work in my small subgroup, my small subgroup is majority male (it’s a stereotypically “men’s job”), but there are some women including myself and we all get along fairly well. I mostly socialize with men, FWIW. I have had work interactions with both trans* individuals. As people aside from any gender politics, all are friendly to me and nice people.

      Anyway. So it turns out, when it comes to the bathroom? There was more awkwardness among the men at the prospect of the F2T individual starting to use the men’s room than there was at the reverse. Surely passing issues played a role maybe but… I was surprised, I will not deny that.

      • Marie-France Lesage Says:

        I think we radical feminists sometimes forget that men can be timid and shy about getting naked in front of strange women, too.

        Maybe it’s fear of losing control of their own penis (“Down boy!”)

        Maybe it’s fear of being falsely accused of inappropriate behavior (a set up.)

        Maybe it’s a result of having been raised in a very modest family.

        Maybe some people are just naturally more modest and private about their bodies and about sexuality in general.

        We radicalized women have often become so used to dealing with exposers, abusers, opportunists and harassers in our lives and in the lives of the women around us that we forget that some men are as bashful and shy at 40 as they were at 4 — and yes, it is sexually abusive for a naked woman to force herself into their presence when they’re also naked in the men’s shower or dressing room.

        I remember a case about twenty years ago where a police recruit was physically forced into a stripper/lap-dance situation with other police officers watching, laughing and pointing and he committed suicide the next day. He was that humiliated.

        There was a boy in my high school who was also that shy. Being in front of naked girls at the local swimming hole (hey, it was the ’70’s) was excruciating for him.

        Of course I feel that way now about being naked in the same room with a “trans woman”. I’ll be the one yelling, pointing and demanding that he be escorted OUT of the women’s shower.

      • mizknowitall Says:

        Marie-France Lesage makes a very good point! As a straight woman I can vouch for what she says. Men, for the most part, despite all the bluster and posturing to the contrary really are still scared little boys putting on a really really big show lest anyone get a clue just how scared they really are! Mind you I am not a male apologist nor am I negating the horrible things men do! Men can be blindly violent and they can and do rape and across the board, no matter how enlightened, if for no other reason than the culture we live in. They tend to view women as a subspecies not equal to men. But that aside, most of them are still under the mask, that shy boy who would be horrified and mortified to have to share their intimate spaces with an unknown to them naked woman!

        Bottom line, the fact that we live in a patriarchy does not make the actions of Levi Pine any less intrusive or sexually invasive or more acceptable than those of Colleen Francis!

        Wrong is still wrong!

  6. liberalsareinsane Says:

    The stupidity is strong with this one. What an insufferable, pervy twat…and she does have one whether she likes it or not. I do wish the enabling from painfully politically correct types would just stop. No need for the Windy City Times to refer to her with male pronouns. It just encourages these sickos.

  7. GallusMag Says:

    I am going to approve comments from Levi’s F2T “fag” and “bear” (heterosexual female trans) supporters in this thread. So far they have been very abusive. I ask my regular posters to try and resist responding in kind. I am approving these comments because I think it is important for them to be seen.

  8. GallusMag Says:

    Levi Pine’s friend on Yelp

  9. luckynkl Says:

    I’m watching this case with interest. A dominant group (males) powering over those they oppress (females) is nothing new. That’s how caste systems and hierarchies work. But now we’ve got a reversal. A member of the lower caste is trying to power over members of the upper caste. Will it work? I’m going to wager a bet and say no. It was fine and dandy as long as men were sticking it to women. But women sticking it to men? LOL, ain’t gonna happen, baby. Men are not going to put up with a female power tripping them. Otherwise, they’d have to say adios to patriarchy. Their beloved caste system would go right down the drain. Do you really think men are going to let that happen? Not on a bet!

    I think it’s the beginning of the end for trans. Power only flows in one direction and is a one-way street under patriarchy, baby, not a two-way street. M2Ts do not challenge power. Just the opposite. They reinforce it. It’s the F2Ts who challenge power.

    This should be interesting to watch. If it works, I think women should all declare themselves to be men tomorrow and get themselves some power, privilege and a pay raise. :p

    • GallusMag Says:

      Women claiming body hair makes females “men” is a revolution? Nah.
      Don’t see a pay raise in my hairy future.

      I see a female handmaiden who worships men so much she wants to be one- paving the way for men to eradicate the last few protections for women against male predation. F2T don’t challenge power. They worship it and serve it and reinforce it.

      Women have disguised themselves as men for eons to access freedom privileges. Hasn’t done a damn thing for women’s liberation.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Although, it might be interesting to think about organizing a feminist uprising using change of legal sex markers in jurisdictions where they are changed on purely subjective “self-identification” terms.
      If the whole Jendur thing continues the way things are going, with PERSONAL SEX-ROLE BELIEFS overriding actual sex, I could see organizing something very interesting… perhaps best discussed in a less public setting.

      I could totally imagine several sex-marker scenarios that women could do to fuck shit up.

      <<thinks ahead.

  10. SheilaG Says:

    “Women have disguised themselves as men for eons to access freedom privileges. Hasn’t done a damn thing for women’s liberation.”

    Exactly right Gallus, women have done this for centuries, it changes nothing in patriarchy, it is merely protective coloration to be able to travel freely and avoid male violence and rape!

    I do this all the time late at night– in parking lots, men see me as male, and leave me alone. I move freely in the world because of this, but it is not revolutionary, it is simply self preservation and a lesbian butch self. But it doesn’t change the status quo of male supremacy one bit! And it doesn’t raise my salary either, if anything, I make less as an out butch lesbian.

  11. FeistyAmazon Says:

    :This should be interesting to watch. If it works, I think women should all declare themselves to be men tomorrow and get themselves some power, privilege and a pay raise.” Love this Luckynkl, and this: “I see a female handmaiden who worships men so much she wants to be one- paving the way for men to eradicate the last few protections for women against male predation. F2T don’t challenge power. They worship it and serve it and reinforce it.”-Gallus Mag

    I agree with BOTH of these statements! We’re male cuz we say we are, and dress the right way, so give us our 100% on the dollar salary, and the power and privilege we deserve and not that lousy 70% to the male full dollar on the job. And I’d love to find out your revolutionary idea Gallus Mag. It wouldn’t take much: a youtube video, a boring t shirt, short hair and a flattened chest and deep voice….and maybe some fake or altered documents.

    The trans movement has NEVER empowered me as a Butch Dyke, trying to get a job, on the job or trying to acquire additional resources. Once they shoot that Testosterone in their arteries or veins, they are literally allowing the Patriarchy into their bodies, and this is one reason so many then start going with gay/bi men: they still want the ‘queer/gay’ community, and they worship maleness in all forms, and eventually the sexual form as well. But if a bio female is with a bio male, isn’t that hetero sex, no matter how you slice it?????

    and the ones into bi/straight or sold out Lesbian women treat ’em like Chaz does, with the full sexism it’s ok to treat women with in their male training and testosterone fueled bodies.

    My fear, is in pushing these boundaries, not only are the MTF’s with ladysticks gonna feel EVEN MORE empowered to crash female spaces where females are vulnerable and naked: spas, locker rooms and bathrooms, but that they (FTM’s) do set themselves up for rape and she’s just too stupid to know that while working so hard on pushing her boundaries, without even having transitioned fully! And she does NOT look in the least bit male.

    • Becky Green Says:

      “Once they shoot that Testosterone in their arteries or veins, they are literally allowing the Patriarchy into their bodies”

      So true! Their bodies become a physical manifestation of the patriarchal dogma that they’ve so deeply internalized. Their assimilation is complete.

  12. Mike Says:

    I am a trans guy, and I think this young fellow is over the line. I use gym facilities frequently, generally using the special needs facilities. In the rare instance that the private rooms are unavailable, I’m discreet enough that no other guy would notice that something is different. The point is, I’m not parading around. Just like washrooms- go in, get what you need to get done, get out, the end.

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