Michigan gym revokes woman’s membership after transgender complaint

Posted at 2:51 PM, Mar 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-08 14:54:43-04

MIDLAND, Mich. (CNN) — A woman lost her gym membership over the “inappropriate” manner in which she complained about a transgender woman in the locker room, a Planet Fitness spokeswoman said.

Yvette Cormier’s Planet Fitness membership was not canceled for simply raising the issue, “as we welcome all feedback from our members,” said McCall Gosselin, director of public relations at Planet Fitness Corporate.

Rather, it was the manner in which she expressed her concerns that club management felt was inappropriate, resulting in the cancellation. Gosselin declined to elaborate on the behavior.

Cormier told CNN affiliate WNEM that she was caught off guard when a “man” walked into the women’s locker room in the gym’s Midland branch on February 28.

“He totally looked like a man. He was not dressed like a woman at all.”

Cormier said she complained to the front desk and corporate headquarters.

“They told me the same thing, that he was allowed in there because that’s the sex he wants to be,” Cormier said.

Planet Fitness’ Gosselin said in a statement: “The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled.”

“Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity,” Gosselin said

Cormier said Planet Fitness needs to do a better job of informing members of its policy allowing members to use whichever locker room corresponds with their gender identity, which refers to a person’s psychological identification as a man, woman or another gender.

LGBT advocates applauded the Planet Fitness policy, saying it was necessary to ensuring the safety and privacy of transgender individuals.

Planet Fitness has the right to allow members to use whichever lock room corresponds with their gender identity, Alison Gill, senior legislative council for the Human Rights Campaign, told MLive

Even though gender identity is not a protected class under Michigan anti-discrimination laws, transgender individuals still have the right to use whichever bathroom they feel comfortable using, attorney Jay Kaplan with the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project told MLive.

“A transgender woman would be much more at risk for her safety if she had to use the men’s bathroom,” he said.