Gender-Nonconforming Gay Man Loses Gym Membership for Not Being ’Manly’ Enough
A Louisiana gay man, who wears women's clothes and makeup, says he was discriminated against after employees at a local gym allegedly revoked his membership because he is not "manly" enough, New Orleans ABC-affiliate WGNO reported Wednesday.
Keegan Burnett, from Slidell, La., says he was harassed when he tried to use the men's locker room at Slidell Athletic Gym.
"I've been this way all my life," he said. "I should be able to use the men's facilities because I am legally a man."
Burnett was allegedly prohibited from using the men's locker.
"I guess I don't meet the standard of masculinity and they figured that I probably can just go anywhere and use the bathroom but not at their facility," he added.
After he was told he couldn't use the locker rooms, he took the issue to management, hoping for a better outcome. Burnett, however, lost his membership.
"I think what's most upsetting is when you have a situation where someone is harassed by individuals and the organization or a company decides to take the side of the people who are doing the harassment," Forum For Equality Executive Director Sarah Jane Brady told WGNO.
Brady continued: "There should be no way shape or form where someone should be asked to leave a health club or theater or a library or anywhere, restaurant because who they are; or who they're perceived to be."
Burnett says he is the victim of discrimination.
"You have people come in here with purple hair, blue hair, green hair, piercing and tattoos all over," he told the news station. "You don't tell these people anything. I want to let them know that it's not right. This is 2014; everybody have a right to be who they are."
The athletic club's general manager, Tina St. Clair, said the gym does not "tolerate discrimination of any kind."
"We wanted Keegan to stay a member, but he felt uncomfortable. We cancelled his membership per his request and issued a refund," she said.
According to St. Clair, Burnett wanted to use the women's locker room. Burnett, however denies the claim.