PLANET FITNESS: NO JUDGMENT! …unless you’re trans*?
As many of you know, I grew up in Huntington Beach. Went to many of the HB schools, including Marina, where, as many of you may know, they have nominated a young trans* woman by the name of Cassidy for Homecoming Queen. This, of course, is a fantastic sign of growth for this school and this city and indeed, Orange County, which is not known for being the most open-minded of places.
However, I sincerely don’t believe that this story would have ever been possible without others paving the way. In particular, my friend, Sammy.
^ That’s my friend Sammy. I’ve known Sammy since our freshman year of high school, but we became much closer in senior year. Sammy is a trans* woman of color*, and made her transition very early in high school. She had to deal with virulent transphobia, misogyny, racism, etc. From teasing remarks to outright physical harassment. And she fucking not only survived it, but graduated and went on to establish a very successful career as an esthetician before reaching her mid-twenties.
However, harassment and discrimination didn’t end at high school, unfortunately, and that’s why I’m writing this. Recently, Sammy was barred from using the ladies restroom at the Anaheim Planet Fitness, a gym where, at the time, she was a paying member. The manager, Jacqueline Rodriguez, claimed that there had been a “complaint” (although conveniently was never able to produce paperwork of said complaint). When Sammy brought up the fact that someone’s complaint should not bar her from using the restroom of her choice, the restroom she was most comfortable in, Jacqueline asked to see her driver’s license to see if she was legally female. Yes, you read that right. A manager of a dinky little gym thought she had the legal right to determine my friend’s gender and therefore the bathroom she should use and also thought she had the right to see her driver’s license.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell most of you how directly in violation of California’s Gender Non-Discrimination Act Ms. Rodriguez was at this point. However, when this was brought to her attention by Sammy’s friends (and mine <3), Megan and Laura, who were there at the time this all happened, she denied knowledge of the bill. Then, when provided with the bill’s literature, claimed that it didn’t matter, because she had met with an owner, and it was “company policy”.
Um, what? Planet Fitness’s company policy is gender discrimination? That’s fucking interesting. So I went ahead and penned this letter and sent it over to Planet Fitness’s corporate office:
Now here’s the part where I could use your help.
If you are a resident of Orange County, ESPECIALLY if you are a member of the above gym, please also email Planet Fitness and let them know that this is unacceptable, and that their “company policy” is not in line with California law. Please let them know that the manager of one of their franchises believes it’s okay to discriminate based on gender and that Sammy is owed a very sincere apology and a promise from Planet Fitness to make good on their motto of “No Judgment”, and their desire to create a safe, energetic environment, where everyone feels accepted and respected.
We should no longer accept a transphobic, homophobic, sexist, racist Orange County. We should no longer accept bullshit microaggressions like this. Please spread the word. I will repost this again next week, if not sooner, should I get a response from Planet Fitness.
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