Fox News Attacks Planet Fitness’ Trans-Inclusive Locker Room Policy
March 10, 2015 1:10 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Fox News criticized Planet Fitness for its policy allowing transgender members to use the restrooms and locker rooms they feel comfortable with, inviting discredited psychiatrist and Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow to peddle bogus stereotypes about transgender people
Last month, a Michigan woman named Yvette Cormier complained to the management of the Midland Planet Fitness gym after she saw a transgender woman named Carlotta Sklodowska using the women’s locker room. When management informed Cormier that transgender members were allowed to use the locker room of their choice, Cormier spent four days approaching other women at the gym and informing them that a “man” was using the women’s locker room. Planet Fitness asked her to stop. When she refused, the gym cancelled her membership, stating the she had violated the company’s trademark “no judgment” policy.
During the March 10 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck invited Ablow, the Fox News contributor notorious for making grossly inaccurate, misleading, and offensive claims about the transgender community, to criticize Planet Fitness’s policy. The segment, which labeled the situation “Legal INSANITY,” began with Hasselbeck referring to Sklodowska as a “man” and quickly devolved into transphobic stereotypes:
ABLOW: It’s tough to speak about because we’re so politically correct now that we get tongue tied. We can’t say the obvious, which is this is craziness. You’re kicking out members because they feel uncomfortable that someone who seems to be a man to them and is genetically is looking at them naked when they’re unclothed as women? That’s craziness.
ABLOW: We are being bullied into accepting things that are untrue to our core feelings.
Ablow went on to compare being transgender to pretending to be a different age or race and urged viewers to cancel their memberships with Planet Fitness.
Contrary to Ablow’s assertions, there’s no evidence that Sklodowska was “looking” at other women in the locker room naked. Sklodowska, who reportedly used the gym twice as a guest of another member, claims she was only using the locker room to store her coat and purse while working out.
And transgender people aren’t delusional or pretending – major professional medical organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association, recognize transgender people as real and deserving of respect and acknowledgment. Ablow, on the other hand, has demonstrated no expertise in issues surrounding gender identity.
Fox’s fearmongering is part of a broader “conservative assault” on transgender access to places of public accommodation, based largely on the thoroughly debunked myth that men will sneak into women’s restrooms. It’s a scare tactic that ignores the fact that transgender people are actually the ones most at risk for being targeted and harassed in public restrooms.