On Thursday, a Michigan court ruled that women with memberships to Planet Fitness gyms will have to accept biological men in their locker rooms.
Yvette M. Cormier, a former member of Planet Fitness, sued the gym after her membership was terminated on March 4, 2015. Shortly after signing up to the facility, Cormier, feeling uncomfortable, complained to the Midland, Michigan, Planet Fitness front deck when she noticed a transgender “woman” — a biological man — in the women’s locker room with her. The gym’s corporate office told Cormier that their locker rooms were available based on gender identity, essentially telling the Michigan woman that she would simply have to accept men in the women’s locker room. Cormier continued to go to the gym but reportedly warned other women that biological men might be in the locker room. Planet Fitness subsequently canceled her membership for her repeated warnings to others.
Citing “invasion of privacy, sexual harassment under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (CRA), retaliation, gender-based discrimination, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act,” Cormier sued Planet Fitness.
The court sided with Planet Fitness’ policy and explained that since Cormier and the transgender “woman” were both dressed inside the locker room, no damage had been done.
“According to plaintiff, because of defendants’ policy, the transgender man had the opportunity to undress in front of her and to see her undress which, she maintains, is conduct or communication of a sexual nature,” said the opinion, via Law Newz. “However, the CRA does not define sexual harassment as being subjected to an opportunity for a person to engage in verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Rather the CRA requires that the sexual conduct or communication substantially interfered with the plaintiff’s utilization of public accommodations.”
The opinion continued: “Transgender rights and policies are polarizing issues and each individual may have a feeling on the issue and on what locker room such individuals should be using,” it reads. “Regardless of whether an average member of the community may find the policy outrageous, the fact is that plaintiff did not suffer severe emotional distress as a matter of law.”
“There is no question we’re going to appeal,” said David Kallman, who is representing Cormier.
“They plan on taking their case to the Michigan Supreme Court. In particular, he disagrees with the appellate court’s interpretation of the CRA, Michigan’s civil rights law. Kallman maintains that Planet Fitness’ policy on locker room facilities and gender identity violates the statute,” notes Law Newz.
The Planet Fitness mission statement states in part: “We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone – and we mean anyone – can be comfortable.”
Other than those damn cis-women*