Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Planet Fitness assigns staffer to assist transgender client in women’s locker room: ‘If you are uncomfortable, you can use a stall’

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A woman who was banned from a Planet Fitness gym after photographing a transgender customer shaving in the women’s locker room claims the gym has since assigned a staffer to accompany the person in the ladies-only area — and is telling other women to back off, The Post has learned.

Patricia Silva — whose membership was revoked hours after she posted a photo of the unidentified gym-goer to Facebook on March 11 — told The Post on Thursday that Planet Fitness “has assigned an employee to accompany him when he uses the women’s locker room”.

“Another friend of mine went to that gym the other day and he was in there — shaving his face again,” Silva told The Post.

“He is dressed as a man. His hair is cut short. It appeared that he was dressed, shaving his face and getting ready to leave for the day.

“He has an employee who is assisting him in the bathroom,” Silva continued.

“My friend said to his accompanied Planet Fitness rep that he needs to leave.”

In response, “This woman told my friend that if you are uncomfortable you can go into a stall,” according to Silva.

Silva’s friend, who wished to remain anonymous, declined to be interviewed by The Post.

In an interview with The Post, Silva said the Planet Fitness member she photographed claimed to be “transitioning”.

Patricia Silva snapped this photo of a customer in the women’s locker room at the Fairbanks, Alaska Planet Fitness. Patricia Silva/ X

“He wasn’t physically doing anything threatening,” Silva told The Post. “But we had a man full of shaving cream on his face in the middle of the locker room.”

Silva unleashed a firestorm last week after confronting the unidentified gym-goer and posting a trio of videos that recounted the incident and her ban from the gym. The video went viral — and has been blamed for Planet Fitness’ value plunging by more than $400 million amid calls to boycott the popular chain.

“I said ‘Hey’ and asked him to leave,” Silva said of their encounter.

“He said ‘I’m LGB queer, transitioning,’ and I said, ‘That doesn’t give you the right to be in the women’s locker room.’” 

Silva, repeating details from the account she gave in her videos, also said there was a young girl with a towel wrapped around her who looked uneasy and “frightened” of the clean-shaven interloper.

Patricia Silva Patricia Silva/ Facebook

But it was Silva who found herself looking for a new gym after Planet Fitness banned her for breaking its policy against photographing other members in the locker rooms.

“As the home of the Judgement Free Zone, Planet Fitness is committed to creating an inclusive environment,” a spokesperson for the corporate parent said in a statement.

“Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use the gym facilities that best align with their sincere, self-reported gender identity. The member who posted on social media violated our mobile device policy that prohibits taking photos of individuals in the locker room, which resulted in their membership being terminated.”

The backlash against the company and the Fairbanks gym soon followed.

The company’s stock price, which traded at a monthly high of $66.92 on March 7, plummeted to a low of $56.46 on Tuesday when word got out about the incident. It climbed back up to close at $58.86 on Thursday.

Many have either canceled their memberships or decided to stay away from the Fairbanks location.

“My husband and I were getting ready to join,” wrote one local on the gym’s Facebook account.

“Guess we’ll be joining the community center.”

Another wrote, “canceled our membership this morning.” The post got 34 heart emojis.

Silva says she wants to take the issue to the state and city legislature, advocating for a “bathroom bill” that would require people to use the lavatory that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Planet Fitness has taken a big financial hit since Patricia Silva’s videos went viral this month. terryleewhite –

There are 11 states, including Florida, Alabama, and Utah, that regulate bathroom access for transgender people.

She also approached the Fairbanks Police Department about the incident but was told, she said, to “back off.”

In 2021, Silva ran for a seat on the Fairbanks state Assembly and she was a campaign coordinator for Republican Dan Sullivan, who is the state’s junior senator.

Silva, however, isn’t likely to get support from Fairbanks Mayor David Pruhs.

“I keep government out of private business,” he told The Post.

“If others want to boycott [Planet Fitness] good on them, but the city will not be stepping into this issue.”

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