A national gym chain that touts its “non-intimidating” environment revoked a Midland, Mich. woman’s membership, claiming she violated its “No Judgement Zone” policy by telling other gym-goers about an incident in which she believed she encountered a man in the locker room.
Yvette Cormier said she was “stunned and shocked” when she entered the Midland, Mich. Planet Fitness gym’s locker room last Saturday and encountered someone she said looked like a man but who actually self-identifies as a woman.
“He looked like a man. He did not look like a woman,” Cormier told Flint’s WNEM.
“I was blocked, because a man was standing there,” Cormier said. “It freaked me out because, why is a man in here?
A flustered Cormier went to the gym’s front desk staff and told them a man was in the locker room. An attendant informed her the person was not a man, but a transgender woman.
“This is very unprofessional. This is very scary,” said Cormier, who did not know the gym’s policy on the matter at the time.
She then made her concerns known to the gym’s corporate office.
“They told me the same thing, that he was allowed in there because that’s the sex he wants to be,” Cormier said.
Cormier attended the gym Monday through Thursday this week and told other women in the locker room about her encounter. She told WNEM that she then received a phone call from Planet Fitness’ corporate office.
She said she was asked her if she planned to stop talking with others at the gym about the incident in the locker room. When Cormier said she would not she was informed that her membership was revoked.
A statement released by the nationwide workout chain indicates that Cormier was banned because she violated the fitness chain’s “Judgement Free Zone” policy. Planet Fitness’ statement reads:
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.
Planet Fitness bills itself as different than traditional gyms, which are seen as intense environments full of testosterone and heavy weight lifting. An example of the chain’s different take on gym-going is its use of a “Lunk Alarm” at each facility which members can sound if another member is working out too aggressively by grunting or slamming weights.
Cormier’s case is not the first time Planet Fitness’ use of the ban-hammer has drawn controversy.
Last April, a pregnant woman in South Carolina was asked to leave the gym because her belly was exposed. Last March, Planet Fitness staffers reportedly asked a woman to wear more clothing because her “toned body” was “intimidating” other members.
Another case of Planet Fitness’ harsh policies may be more applicable to Cormier’s situation.
A Muslim woman filed suit last year after she says gym staff told her that she had to remove a head scarf she wears for religious purposes because it violated dress code. Attorneys for Planet Fitness made the defense that gym staff did not know the woman was Muslim before asking her to remove the head scarf. The attorneys also argued that the Muslim woman failed to participate in good faith.