Trans woman is asked to leave the women's changing room at a gym
A trans woman was recently asked to leave the women's changing rooms at a gym in the UK, told "no men allowed" by a member of staff.
The individual, who is going by the name of "Sarah", had been using the treadmill at PureGym when she headed into the female changing rooms.
She had been using the women's changing room at this particular branch for around two months before the incident took place, as it was the place where she felt most comfortable.
However, she got a nasty shock when she was approached by a manager who told her that "men weren't allowed in the women's locker room."
According to Buzzfeed News, Sarah informed them she wasn't a man, but this didn't change anything.
"She said 'I’m afraid you have to leave' because someone was made uncomfortable by me being in there," she told Buzzfeed News.
Sarah was then told she was welcome to use PureGym's disabled changing room, which was gender-neutral, but replied saying she was not disabled, so did not want to be forced to change there.
On her way out, staff took down Sarah's contact details in order to follow up on the incident and the same manager enquired as to whether she had undergone any gender reassignment surgery.
She reportedly refused to share intimate information with the staff.
Under UK law, transgender people are supposed to be protected from discrimination, regardless of whether or not they have had gender reassignment surgery.
The Equality Act 2010 states: "you do not need to have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender ... This is because changing your physiological or other gender attributes is a personal process rather than a medical one."
Speaking about the incident to Buzzfeed, Sarah explained: "I asked if that was the condition on which trans women were allowed in the changing room — that we would have to have had surgery, knowing that a lot of trans people don’t get surgery for so many reasons: because it’s expensive, or because they want to wait, or that they don’t feel like they should get it at all."
Having chosen PureGym specifically because she believed it to be trans-inclusive, Sarah was left disappointed with the staff's lack of knowledge on the gym's policy.
PureGym has since issued transgender access guidelines titled "Everyone Welcome", which are compliant with the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, and seek to determine changing room use on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, a spokesperson for PureGym confirmed the incident involving Sarah to Buzzfeed News, claiming they hoped they could talk with her to work out a solution that allowed her to comfortably continue working out at their gym.
"On this occasion, PureGym staff contacted the member discreetly, following questions from other members, to agree on a solution on the appropriate changing facilities," the spokesperson said. "We would still value the opportunity to discuss this matter with the member and agree on an appropriate solution ... PureGym has a zero-tolerance policy on any transphobic behaviour from staff or other members."