MIDLAND, Mich. (Christian Examiner) – A man has every right to use the women's locker room at Planet Fitness franchises, Yvette Cormier was told before her membership was cancelled because she complained about it.
Cormier was getting dressed in the locker room at the Planet Fitness she was a member of on Saturday, Feb. 28, when a man walked in. She hurriedly finished, complained at the front desk, and was told the man identifies himself as a woman, so his presence in the women's locker room was allowed.
"I was stunned and shocked," Cormier told MLive.com, a local online newsite. "He looked like a man; he did not look like a woman. ... This is very scary."
After taking her complaints to Planet Fitness' corporate office in in Newington, New Hampshire, Cormier said she was given the franchise's "no judgement zone" registered trademark and told the individual in question would not be asked to stay out of the women's locker room.
Cormier said while she understands men and for that matter women might self-identify as members of their opposite sex, it was the obvious physical appearance of a man in a woman's locker room that caught her off guard. She added that she had not been warned of the possibility she could be sharing a locker room with a transgender.
When she told other women members what they might experience, her membership was revoked for violation of the company's "no judgement zone" policy.
"Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members," according to a statement released by the corporation. "Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity. In expressing her concerns about the policy, the member in question exhibited behavior that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled."
Nationwide, about two people a month have their memberships cancelled for various violations of Planet Fitness policies, according to an article in The New York Times. These include grunting during weight-lifting, tops that ride up and show too much belly on pregnant women, and wearing a hijab, among others that made national news.
Thousands of comments to the article about Cormier's membership cancellation by Planet Fitness posted Friday, March 6, on several newsites attested to the divergent views of Americans on the subject of transgenders. Some agreed; some disagreed; one suggested people looking at other people were "creepy."
"What a twisted society we have become, where a man can 'identify as a woman' and on that basis claim and be granted the 'right' to use women's dressing facilities, and where a woman can be told that it is 'inappropriate' for her to object to the presence of men in such a facility where she is dressing and undressing," wrote Bob Blaylock on MLive.com. "It should be obvious to any rational, decent person, that it is extremely inappropriate for men to be in such women's locker facilities, and it is certainly inappropriate to condemn any women for objecting to such."
"If some female feels more comfortable removing her San Suzzie's in the men's room I doubt there will be many complaints," wrote Mtrelles on NOLA.com. "Even if she looks like a linebacker for the 49'ers. That is just the way it is. Most women are a little different. Most understand that. If it is too much to ask for ladies to have a little privacy when changing, then that is tough."
Devon95 wrote on MNEM.com, "Are children banned from Plant Fitness? If not, what happens when a customer takes her 9-year-old daughter into the locker room and a naked she-male comes out of the shower, fully exposed to this child? Aren't there some pretty serious laws on the books concerning this? And if so, who gets arrested? The parent? The Planet Fitness manager? The shemale? I wouldn't take a child within a country mile of this place."
"Solution to the problem is simple," wrote Nick96 on NOLA.com. "EVERYONE who agrees with this lady cancels their membership and let this be a business decision!"
Those who suggest the issue is confusing have only to look at nouns for proof.
A transvestite is a person, typically a man, who derives pleasure from dressing in clothes appropriate to the opposite sex. Alternate words: drag queen, cross-dresser, female impersonator.
A transgender – also known as transsexual -- is a person who expereiences gender confusion (whose biological anatomy does not match that individual's "felt" gender).
In July 2014 the CDC issued a report stating gays and lesbians accounted for 1.6 percent of the population in the U.S. Tables showed a little more than half of that number (54 percent) were men. Another 0.7 percent described themselves as bisexual and 1.1 percent listed their sexual identity as "something else," or, indicated they did not know, or, declined to give this demographic information.