Is It Sexual Assault to Force a Woman to Shower Alongside the Transgendered?
Caitlyn Jenner is now a woman in the eyes of the law. The transgendered woman, who has become an international symbol of the right to choose one’s own sexual identity, legally switched genders Sept. 25.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg signed the paperwork. Now the woman who was born William Bruce Jenner on Oct. 28, 1949, can get a new driver’s license and Social Security card, along with all of the other government documents that everyone needs.
But will that be enough to allow the former Olympic athlete to enter the women’s locker room at Planet Fitness? Maybe. And if she does, will Caitlyn’s new legal status be enough for the women who would be changing their clothes and showering alongside her?
The answer has to be “no” for Michigan woman Yvette Cormier. She has sued her local Planet Fitness franchise and the national gym chain’s parent company because her membership was cancelled after Yvette refused to stop warning other women about a transgendered woman — male appendage still intact — that she saw in the showers.
Her suit claims emotional distress, numerous violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, and an invasion of privacy were all caused by Planet Fitness’ policy of allowing transgenders to change and shower with women.
However, the judge hearing the case is having trouble dealing with the allegation at the heart of Yvette’s legal action: that simply the presence of a man claiming to be a woman in the locker room and showers of Planet Fitness constitutes sexual harassment under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Midland County, Mich., Circuit Court Judge Michael Beale pointed out in a 90-minute hearing that Yvette was never touched by the transgendered woman in question. But her attorney, David Kallman, argued a transgender-friendly policy is “sexual in nature by allowing men in the women’s locker room,” not to mention the fact that women and men are naked together in the same locker room and taking showers together.
Arthur Pressman, an attorney for Planet Fitness, spoke for his client when he told reporters, “We don’t judge our members and we don’t allow them to judge each other.”
Try telling that to the parents of children in the Troy City Schools in Troy, Ohio.