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Exclusive: Gay couple barred from entering slimming competition

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Reader comments

  1. They should sue the company for anything it’s got, to show the business world that discriminating against LGBT people is a serious matter and not something to be joked about.

  2. “The very nature of the competition title being Mr & Mrs does suggest that it is only relevant for heterosexual couples”

    The TV programme of the same name now includes gay couples as well as heterosexual couples.

  3. For me, this is discrimination of the worst kind, and it makes me sick. Slimming World and any other companies with a similar policy need to be penalised to the extent they will never consider maintaining such a policy in any area of their business.

  4. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Apr 2009, 11:56am

    ” …. whilst also of course ensuring that we are fair to all of our members.”

    That sticks in the throat a little bit.

  5. Either the legislation gives us EQUALITY or it does not.

    If it does, then titles like “Mr. & Mrs. Slimming World” are OUT! And all companies, groups, and individuals must bear the gay & lesbian equality legislation in mind before organizing ANYTHING . . . because WE have to be INCLUDED!

  6. Sounds like discrimination to me. I hope that EHRC takes up this case. May be a trivial matter, but an important principle is at stake.

  7. Yeah, but men lose weight faster than women. It would be unfair to women having to compete against a man.

  8. I found their contact details on the Internet in case anyone cares to complain directly to the company:

    Slimming World,
    PO Box 55,
    Derbyshire, DE55 4UE
    Telephone: 0844 892 0400
    Fax: 0844 892 0401

  9. Wait a minute guys. The company has responed and said they want to work with Mr R AND the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review their policy. This surely is a result. The EHRC will soon fill them in on what they can and cannot do. If they refuse after getting EHRC advice THEN is the time to really complain.

  10. John F is completely right. Though it’s really not that difficult – you just have to let gay people join in. Their PR person does sound a bit of a slime merchant, saying that they want everyone to be equal, when they very evidently don’t if they can get out of it. But it’s all in hand & the 21st century is catching up with them…

  11. As John F has said above, the company has responded in a positive way. Give them some time for gods sake and realise you can’t change everything instantaneously!
    Seriously some of you need to remove you heads from your arse’s..

  12. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Apr 2009, 5:51pm

    Actually folks the legislation in has been in place some time and Slimmers world should already be aware of their obligations

  13. Robert Perry-Griffiths 2 Apr 2009, 6:00pm

    We too requested to join the competition and were told the same by our Consultant. We joked at first and even started a mini petition in class, and our Consultant became quite angry that we had done so, which upset us. We emailed Slimming World and they replied that not enough gay couples had requested entrance and if they did they would set up a seperate competition for gay couples. We replied stating we didnt want seperate competition and we are still awaiting a response. We did set up a group on facebook to name and shame companies that don’t offer equal rights to gay people.

  14. philthrob 2 Apr 2009, 6:00pm

    It seems to me that the issue is this year’s competition and the prize which they are being denied the chance to win – even if next year gay couples will be included. This couple might have put the weight back on by then!

  15. Robert, ex-pat Brit 2 Apr 2009, 7:38pm

    Are these two men in a civil partnership? For this type of competition aimed at a Mr. & Mrs. obviously this refers to a married couple. I would assume that they are and if they are, then why are they not treated as a “married” couple since their partnership is purported by some to be equal to marriage?

  16. Mas Thomas 2 Apr 2009, 9:09pm

    No heterosexuals who are allowed to enter DO NOT have to be married.

    If you are an active member and your partner is following the plan (partner does not have to attend the class meetings) you are eligible to enter the Mr. Mrs. competition. One male one felmale.

  17. Mr and Mrs implies that the pair should be male/female. Its not really the same, is it, if it is male/male or female/female. Its how the opposites interract and the different sexex achieve a combined goal that is a great part of the game.
    I suggest another game for same sex couples. I’m sure the results will be different. Whether or not they will be as interesting is another matter!-I mean, all the ‘mmen from Mars, wome from Venus issues and resulting conflicts, will be absent!

  18. jean-Paul 2 Apr 2009, 9:36pm

    Hi everyone,

    I am Jean-Paul and the person who complained to Slimming World and contacted Pink News.

    I contacted Slimming World on January 23 2009 informing them that they were breaking the Sexual Orientation Regulation, by not offering members of the LGBT entry into the Mr. and Mrs. Competition. No same sex couples ONLY heterosexuals are allowed to enter.

    I received a reply back from the company on February 3 2009 informing the complaint had been escalated to their senior managers and I would receive a full response.

    I emailed them again on March 19th saying I was disappointed they had failed to reply. Nearly 3 months since my original complaint.

    They replied on March 20th I have copied their reply below.

    They state they would like to work with the EHRC and me.

    Why don’t they contact the EHRC independently? They don’t need my reference number.

    Why doesn’t Slimming World seek legal advice from their lawyers?

    Slimming world could just open up the competition to all, but as you can see they have chosen not to.

    Reply from Slimming World 20 March 2009

    Dear Jean-Paul

    First of all I’d like to apologise for our delay in getting back to you, I can assure you that your complaint has been in hand and is being taken very seriously. So seriously, that we have been in the process of seeking further advice, as this is such a complex issue for us.

    The very nature of the competition title being Mr & Mrs does suggest that it is only relevant for heterosexual couples, and the competition has been very successful for many years, so we would like to preserve what works for us, whilst also of course ensuring that we are fair to all of our members.

    I would like to reassure you that we would never intend to upset or discriminate against anyone – it’s contrary to everything we believe in. We have been unable to gain a clear steer on the matter in our efforts so far, and we would therefore like to take this opportunity to work with you and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to seek the best solution to move forward. We’d like to ask for your help in providing us with your complaint case reference number from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so that we can get in touch with them to discuss the matter in detail, and obtain their help and advice.

    I do hope you will be happy to co-operate with us on this so that we can seek a solution to resolve it appropriately for all parties involved.

    With best regards

  19. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Apr 2009, 11:18pm

    “We have been unable to gain a clear steer on the matter in our efforts so far,” – yeah, we’ve asked everyone in the office what they think and no one is really sure.

    I take it Slimming World doesn’t have a legal department then?

  20. The only reason they have now bothered to reply with something even vaguely resembling co-operation is that they have been threatened with legal action and received a load of bad press as a result. Do not be fooled. This organisation remains homophobic in making its policies.

  21. If heterosexuals don’t have to be married to enter, as mentioned above, then technically they don’t qualify as ‘Mr and Mrs’, do they? But no-one has a problem with that, it seems.
    I really don’t get why Slimming World have a problem. ‘Mr and Mrs’ is obviously just a catchy name rather than a rule, implying two people who are part of a couple/in a relationship. How can people still get away with this discrimination?

  22. Thanks Jean-Paul, for giving all the details very clearly. You have been more than generous to Slimming World in the time you have waited and the opportunities to change you have given them.

    The chance I’d have given woudl have been the original complaint; and a day to escalate to senior management and reverse their decision.

    Have you made a complaint to the EHRC and are they pursuing it? If you have and they are not, I think we should all be contacting them to demand that they do their job, and writing to our MPs to report them for not doing so. Please keep us updated.

  23. Robert, ex-pat Brit 3 Apr 2009, 1:23pm

    Just a question of semantics here but if this organisation can state that this competition is not to confined to married couples, then why call it a Mr. & Mrs. competition in the first place. I smell a rat. In this day and age and in the era of equality legislation, nobody can really believe that this outfit wasn’t aware that it was discriminating. Of course it was, hence the extremely tardy letter to Jean-Paul. They responded after they were exposed to avoid any possible litigation. It took them almost three months to respond? Who are the fooling?

  24. Please can we have the Facebook link in order to join and support this case.
    Many thanks…Tony

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