The Michigan woman banned from Planet Fitness for complaining about a transgender woman in the locker room is suing.
Planet Fitness bills its gyms as “no judgement zones,” and she says her membership was unfairly revoked after she complained that a transgender woman she believed was a man was using the locker room.
Yvette Cormier of Midland, Mich. is suing Planet Fitness for at least $25,000 for loss of gym facilities, embarrassment, emotional distress and other damages stemming from an incident which occurred earlier this month, Michigan Live reported.
Cormier said that she was not aware that Planet Fitness had a policy that allows members to use the locker room that matches their gender identity. So when she walked into the Planet Fitness facility on a weekend last month, she said she was frightened when she saw what she believed was a man standing there.
“I was blocked, because a man was standing there,” Cormier said in an interview at the time. “It freaked me out because, why is a man in here?”
Cormier said that when she told gym staff that a man was in the locker room she was informed of the gender identity policy. Cormier contacted the corporate office and was told the same thing.
During her next several visits to the gym Cormier told other members about the encounter. She then received a call from the corporate office informing her that if she did not stop discussing the encounter that her membership would be revoked. Cormier declined that ultimatum, and her membership was canceled.
Carlotta Sklowdowska later came forward claiming to the be transgender woman Cormier encountered.
Sklowdowska wrote on Facebook last week, “So, I scared someone in the Women’s locker room. If I’d gone to the Men’s locker room, I would have been scared.”
Photos from Sklowdowska’s Facebook account show a well-built person who often wears women’s wigs and dresses. One photo shows Sklowdowska wearing a women’s blouse and pants but no wig. Other photos indicate that Sklowdowska is involved in transgender rights activism.
The case highlights the difficulties businesses and the public encounter when trying to determine how to accommodate the transgender population, which some estimates put at less than one percent of the U.S. population. Activists maintain that identity and expression trump companies’ and the public’s concerns over appearance. But many, like Cormier, worry that such grey area could lead to a scenario in which a man poses as a woman in order to gain access to women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities.
Planet Fitness said earlier this month that it revoked Cormier’s membership because she was exhibiting behavior deemed to be “inappropriate” and “disruptive.”
“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 company stated.
Cormier has hired Kallman Legal Group to represent her in the lawsuit. (RELATED: ‘Judgement Free’ Gym Revokes Membership Of Woman Who Complained About Transgender Woman In The Locker Room)
“Ms. Cormier was wrongfully denied the benefits of her contract with Planet Fitness and wrongfully denied the use of the public accommodations at Defendant’s gym because she objected to Defendant’s unknown policy,” the law firm said in a press release, according to Michigan Live. “The policy allows men who self-identify as women to use the women’s facilities, including the women’s locker room and showers.”
“Mrs. Cormier has filed this lawsuit to protect Michigan women and children and to hold Planet Fitness accountable for its irresponsible policy and actions,” Kallman’s statement continues. “This case further illustrates the potential harm caused by adding the proposed new categories of sexual orientation/gender identity to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.”
The civil rights act Kallman referenced is the state’s anti-discrimination law. Some lawmakers have pushed to protect gender identity and gender expression under the law.