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Students protest transgender classmate's use of girl's locker room September 1, 2015 Nearly 200 students walked out of a Missouri high school on Monday because Lila Perry was changing in the girl’s locker room. While Caitlyn Jenner and other transgender celebrities have been greeted with almost universal acceptance, the road has been far rockier for transgender individuals such as Perry, the 17-year-old senior who is navigating new terrain at Hillsboro High School. “It wasn’t too long ago white people were saying, ‘I don’t feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with a black person,’ and history repeats itself,” Perry told Fox2. The nearly two-hour protest featured both those opposed to Perry using ladies’ facilities and those who supported her right to do so. “I’m not going to hurt their daughters,” said Perry, addressing concerned parents. “I’m not going to expose myself. I’m not a pervert. I’m a transgender woman. I’m a girl. I’m just in there to change, do my business, and that if they have any questions about being transgender, they are more than welcome to talk to me, and I’ll be happy to explain it.” Perry was stuck in the principal’s office – the school says for her safety – while her classmates debated her rights – and theirs. Part of the issue is that while Perry identifies as transgender, she still has male genitalia. Perry wears a wig and female clothing, but hasn’t undergone any medical operations to transform her body. “I find it offensive because Lila has not went through any procedure to become female,” student Sophie Beel told Fox2. “Putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me.” Perry had identified as a gay male until she was 13. But it wasn’t until February that she came out publicly as transgender. She initially used a gender-neutral faculty restroom, but, when Perry added P.E. to her schedule, she decided to begin changing in the girls’ locker room. “I wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t want to feel segregated out,” Perry told KMOV. “I didn’t want to be in the gender-neutral bathroom. I am a girl. I shouldn’t be pushed off to another bathroom.” But some students have expressed discomfort at the idea of Perry using the ladies’ room. And many parents have also voiced concerns. A Thursday school board meeting that preceded Monday’s walkout was highly attended, and what bathroom Perry should use was a topic of debate. “The girls have rights, and they shouldn’t have to share a bathroom with a boy,” Tammy Sorden told St. Louis Today. Sorden, who has a son at Hillsboro High, added that it’s not right to give Perry special treatment “while the girls just have to suck it up.” School administrators have been supportive of her plight, Perry said, though that support may be due in part to legal concerns. Refusing a student’s right to use the bathroom of the sex with which they identify could mean trouble from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. “The Office of Civil Rights has issued an opinion that says, if you do this, you have engaged in gender discrimination,” said Kelli Hopkins, of the Missouri School Boards’ Association. “At the same time, there is no case law or statute in Missouri that says this is against the law.”
Planet Fitness cancels woman's membership after her complaints of transgender woman in locker room By Jessica Shepherd | firstname.lastname@example.org on March 06, 2015 at 5:11 PM, updated March 07, 2015 at 12:15 PM MIDLAND, MI -- A Midland County woman's gym membership was canceled after she refused to stop telling fellow gym members "a man" was using the woman's locker room. Yvette Cormier said the incident occurred Saturday, Feb. 28, when she entered the women's locker room at the Planet Fitness location at 701 Joe Mann Boulevard in Midland. "I was blocked, because a man was standing there," Cormier said. "It freaked me out because, why is a man in here?" Cormier said an employee at the front desk told her that the individual identifies as a woman. After taking her complaints to Planet Fitness' corporate office, Cormier said she was told that the gym was a "no judgement zone" and they would not tell the individual in question to stay out of the women's locker room. The person has not been identified. The slogan "Judgement Free Zone" is regularly used by Planet Fitness. A statement released by McCall Gosselin, public relations director for Planet Fitness, states that members can use the locker room corresponding with their personal gender identity. Cormier disagrees with the policy and feels it's a safety issue. According to Cormier, she returned to the gym each day between Monday and Thursday. While there, Cormier said she told women in the locker room about the individual she observed in the bathroom the weekend before. Cormier said she then got a call from Planet Fitness' corporate office telling her that she was violating their "no judgement" policy. She says they asked if she was going to stop talking to other women in the locker room and she said she would not. Cormier said the representative told her she was no longer welcome at the gym. The statement released by Gosselin confirms that Cormier's actions led to the cancellation of her membership, though the statement does not go into details of the situation. Here is a look at the statement, in full: "Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity. The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was cancelled." "I feel it's kind of one sided," Cormier said about the policy. "I feel like I am the one who is being punished." She feels Planet Fitness could provide a third locker room for transgender people. The women's locker room offers private changing stalls and includes bathroom stalls with doors. According to Alison Gill, senior legislative council for the Human Rights Campaign, the gym is within its rights to create a policy that welcomes members to use the locker room corresponding with their gender identity. "They have that right," she said.