Planet Fitness loses members after gender identity complaint

Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-09 21:43:33-04

MIDLAND, Mich. — It’s a business that sells itself on being non-judgmental, but Planet Fitness is losing members after it allegedly revoked the membership of a woman for complaining according to a report from WNEM.

Yvette Cormier, a member at the Midland location, said she had no idea what that meant until a week ago.

“I was stunned and shocked. He looked like a man. He did not look like a woman,” Cormier said. Cormier is talking about a transgender woman who walked into the woman’s locker room while she was getting undressed. She said she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“This is very unprofessional. This is very scary,” Cormier said.

Not knowing why the person was in the women’s locker room, Cormier said she immediately complained to the front desk and eventually to corporate offices.

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

Cormier said she understands that some men self-identify as women and some women self-identify as men, but said the person looked like a man and that caught her off guard.

Cormier lost her membership for violating the company’s no judgement zone policy.

Moving forward, Cormier said she isn’t concerned with getting her membership back. Her concern now is to warn other women at the gym to make them aware of the policy, because she said Planet Fitness failed to warn her.

The company told TV5 that Cormier’s concerns about the policy regarding gender identity was inappropriate and disruptive by complaining to other members at the gym.

Representatives with Planet Fitness issued this statement:

“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.

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”

Cormier said she had no idea that person was actually a transgender woman. She also said she had no idea Planet Fitness had a policy allowing transgender women to share locker rooms with women.

TV5 sat down with a well known member of the transgender community to get her take on how to avoid the issue moving forward.

Char Davenport is a professor at Saginaw Valley State University as well as Delta College. She’s a prominent member of the transgender community. Davenport is also a transgender woman.

Davenport said she is not surprised by Cormier’s reaction. At the same time she said she applauds Planet Fitness for understanding the needs of the transgender community.

According to Davenport, Planet Fitness and any other facility looking to support the transgender community, she insists they must have the proper facility so supporting LGBT rights doesn’t impose on those who may not have a full understanding of her community.

“Private showers and changing areas really would go a long way in resolving these issues,” Davenport said.

Cormier said the issue is that Planet Fitness failed to warn her about the possibility they could be sharing a locker room with a member of the transgender community. Davenport feels pointing something like this out to customers could be construed as negative and again she said the proper facilities and changing areas make this issue a moot point.

In the end Davenport said she has no ill feeling towards Cormier, instead she said her concern is valid and most importantly, Davenport said it provides the opportunity for the public to learn more about the transgender community. Which hopefully will avoid a similar situation moving forward.

Planet Fitness’ policy made some women members feel uncomfortable. Those women are revoking their membership at the gym.