Planet Fitness Deserves A Round Of Applause

by Julie Alvin

Doubling down on the gym's "No Judgement Zone" slogan, a Midland, Michigan Planet Fitness kicked out a transphobic member this week after she continuously complained about the presence of a transgender woman in the women's locker room, citing "safety issues." I believe it's situations like this for which the phrase "Good riddance!" was coined. Peace out, lady.

48-year-old Yvette Cormier told Michigan local news source MLive that, upon walking into the women's locker room, "I was blocked, because a man was standing there. It freaked me out because, why is a man in here?" Cormier proceeded to complain to the front desk manager, who told her that the patron (whom Cormier was offensively misgendering) identifies as a woman and is therefore welcome to use the women's facilities, per the gym's policies. Cormier then called and voiced her concerns with the corporate office, which cited the gym's judgement-free slogan and told her they would not ask the patron in question to stay out of the women's room. Proving that ignorance speaks the loudest, Cormier continued to complain to other patrons, telling ABC News that the gym was "failing to protect me if anything happens in those locker rooms with a man." She was eventually told that she was no longer welcome at the gym. Anyone else now considering joining Planet Fitness?

A statement from the gym's PR department said:

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. 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 cancelled.

Cheers to Planet Fitness for having a gender identity non-discrimination policy in the first place, for actually implementing that policy, and for doing so in a state where progressive gender politics aren't necessarily the norm. Transgender people should, always and everywhere, be allowed to use the restroom or locker room facility that matches with their gender identity, and Planet Fitness is joining states like California, Rhode Island, and Illinois and universities like Harvard, Bryn Mawr, and Wellesley, in setting an example by explicitly writing transgender-supportive practices into their laws and policies.

Unfortunately, this story has given voice to those from the dark corners of the Internet who believe that transgender people should not be allowed in the restrooms that match their gender identity, and expressing as much through gross, transphobic posts.

These people are clearly not doing their research, as there have been no proven incidents since states like California implemented their inclusive bathroom policies of "men dressing up as women" in order to gain access to women's restrooms — though that's a fearmongering myth that many enemies of the cause like to promote. In fact, "a transgender woman would be much more at risk for her safety if she had to use the men's bathroom," attorney Jay Kaplan of the Michigan ACLU's LGBT Project told MLive.

At least some people understand that this policy DOES protect women. All women — not exclusively cisgender ones.

The next step? For trans-supportive policies to be so widespread and accepted that an incident like this is the norm, not the exception.