The David Lloyd gym chain has confirmed its policy requires most transgender people to use the changing rooms of their “birth gender.”
The health and leisure chain, which runs 96 gyms across the UK, told Huffington Post that unless transgender people have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate, they would be required to use the facilities of their “birth gender.”
David Lloyd gym chain tells trans people to use ‘facilities for their birth gender’
A spokesperson told Huffington Post: “Our policy is that unless the member holds a Gender Recognition Certificate, transgender members must use the facilities designated for their birth gender.”
The wording has sparked alarm from transgender people, who pointed out that it could be an apparent violation of UK equality law to demand to see a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which only serves to update a person’s legal gender on their birth certificate.
Only a small proportion of trans people have gone through the convoluted legal process to obtain a GRC, and the government is currently considering reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to make the process easier.
Trans campaigner Christine Burns, who helped form the 2004 gender recognition law through Press for Change, tweeted: “Just to be clear — and I’m speaking as one of the team that brought about the GRA: It is unlawful to request to see a person’s Gender Recognition Certificate as that would defeat the whole point of the GRA protecting trans people’s privacy.
“The entire purpose of the Gender Recognition Act was to provide a means in law for a trans person to protect the private fact of their gender reassignment from petty disclosure. Operating in a way that frustrates the law’s intent is an offence.”
David Lloyd gyms faces boycott over ‘disgraceful’ policy
The Trans Equality Legal Initiative added: “We are concerned to hear @DavidLloydUK would deny access to a trans people seeking to use a changing room in line with their gender.
“This would appear to conflict with rules under Equality Act 2010. Shocking hostile environment for trans people in the UK.”
Others on Twitter vowed to cancel their memberships of David Lloyd gyms to protest the “disgraceful” policy.
Huffington Post also investigated policies at other major UK gym chains.
Virgin Active, PreGym and EasyGym all confirmed that they had transgender-inclusive policies.
However, health club owner Duncan Bannatyne suggested his chain also has a similar policy, tweeting: “We have been doing that for a while.”
He added: “Trans people can exercise in any gym in UK. The question is about where they can get changed.”