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So since a couple weeks a trans"woman" has been using the women's changing room at my local gym, he is clearly a man and I feel completely uncomfortable in his presence and refuse to change when he is in, a couple friends think I'm overreacting but I see and feel him starring at me and my friends and it makes me not want to turn my back to him, the gym offers one person changing rooms as well. I need some encouragement to bring it up to the gym management, my friends have been a lot less disturbed and called me a transphobe so I've been feeling like I shouldn't say anything.

Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place I'm still figuring things out here

So since a couple weeks a trans"woman" has been using the women's changing room at my local gym, he is clearly a man and I feel completely uncomfortable in his presence and refuse to change when he is in, a couple friends think I'm overreacting but I see and feel him starring at me and my friends and it makes me not want to turn my back to him, the gym offers one person changing rooms as well. I need some encouragement to bring it up to the gym management, my friends have been a lot less disturbed and called me a transphobe so I've been feeling like I shouldn't say anything. Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place I'm still figuring things out here

27 comments

Your friends can't consent on behalf of other women, so their opinions on how they feel doesn't matter when it comes to how you feel.

I am perfectly comfortable wearing a bikini in front of strangers, men or women, on any beach or in any pool/hot tub. There's loads of women who are not...what if I demanded they all wear one anyways? That's what your friends are doing. It's shit of them.

[–] SecondSkin 5 points Edited

I’m completely fine with a mixed sex changing room when advertised as such. Our gym have a unisex family changing room, where the showers are open and everyone keeps suits on, and the cubicles are for anyone/toilets for anyone. And this changing room has the disabled access changing rooms and toilets. And then has female and male single sex changing rooms. It’s a small gym that does lots of kids swimming lessons and makes best use of the space to meet everyone’s needs and that’s great. But falsely advertising it’s single sex and gas lighting women and girls, and failing to safeguard them, in the process is not acceptable.

[–] mathlover 30 points Edited

Trust your instincts. He is a predator. Women who say it is fine for a man to be in a women's changing room/locker room have been groomed into that.

Use the one person changing room. Even if the gym management knows he shouldn't be in the women's changing room, there may be nothing they can do about it. If you talk to the management calmly but firmly let them know that he stares at women who are changing/naked and that most women are angry he is in there, find him creepy pervy, and are afraid to speak up.

Thanks so much to everyone commenting with tips and advise, I'll add some information, I'm from the Netherlands and this is the only gym in my town I can go to sadly. I phoned management following advise from Grace Howard and didn't mention his id as trans and talked about him as a woman and stressed how uncomfortable his behavior made me. The guy on the phone was sympathetic and assured me he'd talk to the manager and communicate the complaint.

As for the changing, it feels really awful being forced to use a single changing room instead of just going to the women's one as it feels like I have to give up my spot for a man. and missing out on having fun with my friends, and talking during winding down from the workout. I did talk to them about it since posting, and let them see this post, and whilst one of them was upset at the 'misgendering' they all at least understand I feel unsafe and take my feelings more seriously.

Well done. Both of those things were super hard and a lot of people avoid them. It matters. Even if you dont get a positive response youve planted seeds

I would simply quietly use another space: even if I had to use a bathroom stalls. If none are available, I would ask Management.

No one can consent to your exposure for you. You get to decide. Management may be hamstrung with loccal self-ID laws.

I might be inclined to drop a note, even anonymously, to the local paper, so that other women are warned, if nothing else. And, being me, I would stock up of stickers that men cannot be women, and plaster them where and when I could.

Yes. A relentless barrage of stickers naming him as a man makes him have to face not getting "validated" every time he is in there when he has to face the fact that no one believes his fantasy. It should be done completely anonymously with more stickers going up as soon as the last ones get torn down. But - Omerta. No one shoots her mouth off or takes credit for it.

yep. Maybe he will find another place to go. (Which only kicks the can down the road: some other women have to deal with him.) Ick.

Great idea of dropping a note, or even putting a review up anonymously with that information. I'd like to know if there was a predator in the locker room before joining a gym.

Review is a great idea too, if it can be done anonymously. It might generate responses, both for and against, and this way lies the peak experience for some!

I am not advocating others to do this, it is based on your personality and comfort level, but I like to: I roll my eyes, sigh, maybe say "for fuckssake," shake my head, etc.

I make sure they don't have any implicit support, that I recognize them for a gross man, and so on.

I would love to just stand near him with my arms crossed obviously waiting for him to leave so I could change, and also make it apparently that how long he is staying in there and what he is doing is being monitored. But that is just a fantasy right now.

I agree with others, your local laws might allow men to enter the women's rooms based gender feels. I would make sure to only change in the single stalls. If you see that man in the room, turn around and walk back out. Say nothing, just leave.

Just my opinion, but your friends are really bad friends. Even if they are fine with a man in the women's change room, even if they disagree with you, that does not give them the right to waive your privacy and safety.

Is it possible to change gyms, or is there only one close to you?

Changing friends would also be ideal. Women should not shame you or call you names for being creeped out by a MAN!!!

I’m sorry you’re going through this :(

I would definitely approach the gym's management about your concerns. There's not much it can do in the short term, however, if the jurisdiction in which the gym is located has laws against discrimination against gender identity. But, you can encourage it to support laws and initiatives to keep gyms single sex spaces. You might also write a letter about the Wi Spa incident, in which a convicted sex offender claimed to be a woman at a gym, and flashed his penis at young girls and women in the locker room.

And, of course, you can quit the gym in protest if you feel very strongly about it.

You are quite entitled to make your complaints to gym management. You are paying them, they are providing a service, they are not employing you. Be sure to include that he stares at you and other women in the changing room. That is patently outrageous behavior- nobody should be staring in the changing rooms!

When they offer you to use the single changing room, just say, "I want to cancel my membership effective immediately, since you are not providing women's facilities. Refund me the rest of this month's payment, I need it for (competitor gym's) new member promotion."

If you were to demand that they go in and remove him, they'll probably react like the wi spa staff. But if you demand an immediate refund, I think they will respond to the issue quite differently.

If it's a fitness chain, complain to corporate. That's where the decision makers work.

And put anonymous comments on Yelp, your town Reddit, Next Door, anywhere local businesses are discussed.

You could speak to the management and tell them about a woman (ahem) behaving inappropriately in the changing room. Say that you have noticed several times that ‘she’ was looking at you and other women while changing and you feel uncomfortable. Huff indignantly that you don’t think women should get a pass on pervy behaviour in changing rooms just because they’re women. Don’t give any hint that you think this person is anything except a woman. In the meantime change in the single changing room.

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