MONTCLAIR, CA, November 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Los Angeles-area gym is under fire for a transsexual’s claim that he was asked to stop using the women’s locker room after revealing his past life as a man to his personal trainer.
Yanel Valenzuela, 29, told KCAL-9 Los Angeles that a female manager at the Montclair location of the LA Fitness gym chain told him he was no longer welcome to use the women’s changing and restroom area after he confessed to a personal trainer that he had been born a man, but had surgery to remove his male sex organs and replace them with female facsimiles.
According to Valenzuela, he told the trainer his secret because he wanted fitness advice targeted toward his unusual situation. But he claims a manager took him aside later and told him he couldn’t use the women’s locker room anymore.
“I felt hurt because I don’t understand why she did it. She had no reason. She had no complaints from anyone,” Valenzuela told KCAL. He said he showed the manager his California driver’s license, which he had changed to say he is a female, along with a letter from his doctor confirming he’d had the sex-change operation.
Valenzuela insists the manager’s request amounted to disrespect and harassment. “It gave me emotional stress,” he told KCAL. “I don’t think it was fair.” He said he went to the press about the incident to force the manager to think twice before denying anyone else access to the restroom or changing facilities of their choice.
“I hope this never happens to anybody again because it’s not fair for me to be disrespected in front of clients and the members that come here,” Valenzuela said.
LA Fitness told KCAL they are aware of the situation, but refused to comment further. It has not been confirmed whether the gym planned to go through with banning Valenzuela from the women’s facilities; however, that seems unlikely, as California’s anti-discrimination law singles out “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected classes.
Facilities use by so-called “transgender” people has been a particularly hot topic in California of late, as concerned parents have mounted a ballot referendum to overturn a recently-passed law requiring the state’s public schools to allow students to use the restroom and changing facilities of their chosen – not biological – sex, as well as participate in the single-sex activities of their choice, such as sports teams.
While California’s laws do not specifically address the use of privately owned restrooms, an increasing number of judges and commissioners around the country have interpreted “public accommodation” provisions like the one contained in California’s anti-discrimination law to include access to the bathroom of one’s choice. For example, in Oregon, a bar owner was recently ordered to pay a group of cross-dressers $400,000 after he asked them not to return due to other customer’s complaints about their inappropriate behavior in the women’s restroom.
The Obama administration’s Department of Justice, which has called the promotion of transgender acceptance a “top priority,” has also taken an aggressive stance on the issue, claiming that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, applies to “perceived” sex as well as real sex. The DOJ has mounted a campaign of legal harassment against schools and employers that fail to allow self-identified transgender people (regardless of biology or surgical status) to access facilities meant for the opposite sex.
A number of schools have been intimidated by the DOJ’s threats, including the University of Arkansas, which changed its bathroom policy after the DOJ sent them a letter threatening legal action if they refused to allow a 38-year old male cross-dresser to use the women’s restrooms, despite the fact that the man – a father of a toddler who had recently divorced his second wife – had not yet had surgery to remove his male organs.
But Randy Thomasson of Save California believes the DOJ is wrongly interpreting the law. Attorney General “Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said, after the DOJ forced a Los Angeles area high school to allow a ninth grade girl to use the men’s facilities. “You cannot change your genes or your gender. You have chromosomes and they are either XX or XY.”
Laurence Vance, a policy adviser at the Future of Freedom Foundation, goes even further. Vance argues that governmental attempts to force private property owners to accommodate the whims of those suffering from gender confusion highlights a fatal flaw within the nation’s anti-discrimination laws.
“From a private property standpoint, the growing trend of making accommodations for ‘transgender’ people should be opposed root and branch, but not because this concerns anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity,” Vance told LifeSiteNews via e-mail. “All anti-discrimination laws are an assault not only on property rights, but on freedom of thought and freedom of association.”
“In a truly free society,” Vance stated, “all business and property owners would be free to discriminate against anyone, for any reason, and on any basis. And it goes without saying that they would be free to make their own restroom policies. But even without going this far, all federal anti-discrimination laws should still be opposed simply because the federal government has no authority under the Constitution to make them.”