Transgender people deserve respect — not scorn

Marney Rich Keenan
The Detroit News

You would think being banned from Planet Fitness for being transphobic would have been the end of the story.

But no, the long, blond-haired and very fit Yvette Cormier of Midland is now suing the health club that bills its gyms as “no judgement (sic) zones,” for revoking her membership because she refused to stop complaining about a transgender person being allowed in the locker room.

The lawsuit says Planet Fitness caused her “embarrassment, humiliation, severe emotional distress and damage to her reputation as a result of the entire incident.”

Furthermore, the fitness center’s policy “encourages possible criminal activity, including potential indecent exposure, disturbing the peace and child abuse criminal actions.”

In other words, transgender people (or those people whose gender identity differs from what sex they they were born with) are predisposed to perverse, criminal behavior, including the abuse of children, when in locker rooms of the same gender-identity.

That’s not mere discrimination, not just intolerance; that’s hate.

One wonders what her reaction would be if she understood she was probably routinely in same dressing room as lesbians; women who by definition would be sexually attracted to her, whereas a transgender woman typically identifies as a straight woman and, thus, would be attracted solely to men.

Cormier joined the Midland Planet Fitness on Jan. 28. About a month later, court records say she complained to gym staff after seeing “a large, tall man...using the alias of Carlotta Sklodowska” in the women’s locker room. She was “surprised, stunned and shocked and did not feel comfortable changing her clothes or showering with a man present and watching.”

When she complained, staff told her that people at the gym were allowed to use the facilities associated with the gender in which they self-identify. She was told if she was uncomfortable, she could choose the locker room after the other person was finished.

But Ms. Bee in her Bonnet wasn’t having it. On visits from March 2-4, Cormier warned other women about the policy. When she was asked to stop or risk having her membership terminated, she refused and got the boot.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday, sadly, on the same day Blake Brockington, an 18-year-old high school student in Charlotte, N.C., died of an apparent suicide, as reported by the Charlotte Observer.

Brockington made national headlines last year when he was crowned homecoming king as an openly transgender student.

By many accounts, Brockington was good kid. One of his high school teachers said he was one of her brightest students. He had planned on attending the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, to study mathematics, music, and education.

When he told his parents he was trans, his father was unable to accept his gender identity and he was kicked out. He was 12 years old.

So he moved in with a foster family who provided him with counseling, helped with insurance coverage for hormones so he could transition to being Blake.

“My family feels like this is a decision I made,” Brockington told the Charlotte Observer last year. “They think, ‘You’re already black, why would you want to draw more attention to yourself?’ But it’s not a decision. It is who I am. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

The homecoming crowning was a huge achievement, but it also brought scorn. “That was single-handedly the hardest part of my transjourney,” Brockington said. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.

“I’m still a person,” he added. “And trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what up (in our heads.) We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”

I so wish Yvette Cormier could have gotten to know Brockington’s story before she decided transgender people were a threat. She could have been spared all that “emotional distress,” not to mention all that damage to her reputation.