michigan hall of justice

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Michigan court ruling suggests trans women aren’t women

The court ruled against Planet Fitness for policy that didn’t state it was trans-inclusive.


Alex Dalbey


On Thursday, a Michigan appeals court ruled against Planet Fitness for not specifically stating it was trans-inclusive, essentially siding with a cisgender woman who believes transgender women shouldn’t be in women’s locker rooms.

In 2015, Yvette Cormier brought a $25,000 suit against Planet Fitness for kicking her out and canceling her gym membership when she complained to management and other members about the gym allowing trans women to use the women’s locker room. Planet Fitness says Cormier violated its “judgment-free zone” policy.

Last year, a Michigan lower court ruled to dismiss the suit, but this spring the Michigan Supreme Court revived the case for a second look. The court sided with Cormier, ruling that Planet Fitness misrepresented its contract by not explicitly stating that trans women are welcome in the locker rooms for women.

“Plaintiff’s actions indicate that she strongly preferred a locker room and a restroom in which individuals who are assigned biologically male are not present, and it is thus reasonable to infer that defendants’ failure to inform plaintiff of the unwritten policy affected her decision to join the gym,” the court wrote.

The language the court used is deeply transphobic, referring to transgender women as “men who self-identify as women,” among other things, and never using the word transgender. In effect, the court is saying transgender women are not women, and Planet Fitness deceived Cormier by not informing her that it was a trans-inclusive business.

The ruling is sending shockwaves through the trans community over its potential implications. It sets a precedent that transgender people are not the gender they identify as, and that, if a space is designated for women, it should be assumed that trans women aren’t welcome unless it is explicitly stated. From there, it may put transgender-inclusive businesses in jeopardy, or at risk for legal action.



The case is not entirely over, however; it now returns to lower courts in Michigan to be examined further. 

H/T ThinkProgress

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