CHANGING ROOM

Trans Woman Claims L.A. Fitness Barred Her From Locker Rooms

valenzuelaA trans woman claims that she has been banned from using the women’s locker room at her local L.A. Fitness, and the gym’s management has nothing to say about it.

Yanel Valenzuela confided in a trainer at L.A. Fitness in Montclair, California, that she is transgender, hoping to develop an exercise routine tailored to her needs. As a result, a manager told her that she could no longer use the women’s facilities.

“It gave me emotional stress,” Valenzuela told CBS Los Angeles. “I don’t think it was fair.” Despite Valenzuela offering her driver’s license and a letter from her physician as proof of her transition, the manager refused to budge.

“I hope this never happens to anybody again,” Valenzuela said. “Because it’s not fair for me to be disrespected in front of clients and the members that come here.”

Valenzuela’s experience unfortunately is common among trans people, who face discrimination and violence when claiming their space in public facilities. Last week, we reported on a trans teen in Colorado who was subjected to libelous attacks from a fringe special interest group when she tried to use the bathroom at her school. And earlier this year, the Arizona legislature attempted to pass a bill that would penalize trans people who use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities.

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17 Comments

  • niles

    Perhaps the clubs could set up a separate changing area for these sorts of people.

  • Dixie Rect

    This sounds like a riddle: How do you tailor an exercise plan to meet the needs of a trans-woman?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Will L

    I hate the term transgender. If she has, in fact, had gender realignment surgery, I would call her transsexual and I would defend her in this case. If she has NOT had gender realignment surgery, she is a crossdresser. She is still biologically a male and this is where I have trouble accepting this.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Will L: “Biologically” is such a mealy-mouthed word in this context. If she’s had hormones and grow breasts and lives full time as a woman, she’s a woman. No questions. And it’s not yours to accept or not accept, any more than homosexuality is something straight people can accept or not accept.

  • Kangol

    This is blatant discrimination. If she lives as a woman, feels deep inside she is a woman, and considers herself a woman, she is a trans woman whether she has had gender reassignment surgery or not. I would imagine California has laws on the books to prevent this sort of discrimination, so hit the courts, and don’t stop till you make these bigots pay.

  • Lawerence

    She needs to sue this disgusting company! Years ago I made the huge mistake of thinking I wanted to work there. From what I soon learned they had zero integrity. There business practices were repugnant! They lured people in by cold calling pages from the phone book, saying you’ve won a free trial membership. The last straw for me was when I saw them berating a newly widowed elderly woman, asking who has money, all while they also made fun of her behind her back. I called and quit the next day!

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  • balehead

    Sounds fishy….is she just looking for money?…

  • Thedrdonna

    @balehead: You mean she intentionally got discriminated against, and is now looking to cash in on her fame? Or are you just trying to blame the victim here?

  • balehead

    She’s looking to get “Instant famous Activist” too!..thanks for reminding me!…

  • balehead

    Now I’m off the gym…

  • mlbumiller

    @Will L:
    Once again, do you people ever look deeper before you open your big mouth? Queerty misleads readers with their quoting of an article.

    Going to the original artical it states:

    “Valenzuela said she showed the manager her California driver’s license, which states she’s female. She also had a letter from her doctor that said she was born a man but had surgery to become a woman”

  • NoelG

    @Niles: I’m pretty sure the Civil Rights Movement settled the issue that separate but equal never means equal. And what do you mean by “these sort of people”? We are the LGBT community.

    @Will L: You hate the term transgender? It’s not up to you to decide particularly since you don’t understand the term or, apparently, gender identity issues. Learn the differences between transgender, transsexual, cross dresser, transvestite, gender queer, and inter-sexed. Learn the difference between gender identity, sexual identity, sexual fetish, and social comfort. Transgender and cross dresser are two unrelated terms.

  • tricky ricky

    @NoelG: some do not like transsexuals being tacked on to the lgb as they are an entirely different issue.

  • Thedrdonna

    @tricky ricky: “Tacked on” implies that trans folk weren’t there from the beginning, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The trans community and the LGB community were one until relatively recently, and there is a lot of overlap in our stories and experiences. The only people who really object to trans people being included in the “gay rights” umbrella are lesbian separatists and heteronormative gay white men.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Thedrdonna: Grrr. I am a gay white man and am very supportive of my trans brothers and sisters, and I know for a fact that white people are not the only people that have ever objected to the trans inclusion in LGBT rights. >:(

  • Thedrdonna

    @DarkZephyr: Sorry, I should have made it clear that by no means do I mean that all white folks who are LGB are against trans people, just that the vast majority of people in the LGB community who are against trans inclusion are white.

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