QAnon followers chant 'save our children' as Wi Spa protest over trans customer turns violent
Nobody was arrested but at least five people were injured in the confrontation, according to the LAP
Demonstrators clashed outside a Koreatown spa in LA on Saturday, July 3, after a transgender woman apparently disrobed in an area reserved for women. Reportedly, far-right protesters appeared to be outnumbered by those favoring transgender rights. Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly in the afternoon. And among the far-right protesters were a number of people who believe in QAnon.
People from both sides of the transgender rights movement battled in Downtown LA outside Wi Spa on Wilshire Boulevard. People wearing masks and flak jackets, some with guns, and others holding placards or flags could be seen. Those opposed to the policy planned a demonstration in front of the company at 11 am on Saturday, July 3, while advocates of trans rights with the organization SoCal Antifa planned to arrive two hours early for a “No Bigotry in LA” event.
Police officers spread out at the scene, and an LAPD helicopter was seen overhead as demonstrators shouted at each other and later even engaged in violence. 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. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange said one person who was assaulted sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a medical facility in a private ambulance. It was not clear which side of the protest the injured people were affiliated with.
Newsweek reported that QAnon believers gathered outside Wi Spa USA and chanted "save our children". One protester reportedly wore a T-shirt that included the term "Pedowood", a baseless theory about a secret cabal of Satanist child abusers in government, entertainment and the media. The protesters also repeatedly said that “pedophile is not a sexual orientation.”
As per a 2020 Associated Press article, the “Save the Children” effort emerged as a splinter movement from QAnon. Under the guise of benefiting children, many such social media posts seek to lure people into the QAnon conspiracy theory circle and encourage support for former President Donald Trump, said Sophie Bjork-James, an anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the religious right and QAnon.
In a statement to Los Angeles Magazine, Wi Spa USA said: "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 of all its customers."
Attorney Peter F Jazayeri, who is representing the spa, said: "California law prohibits discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in business establishments."
As per California law, Civil Code section 51(b), "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."
Furthermore, California Civil Code section 51 (e)(5) 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."