Brigid Klyne-Simpson, a transgender woman in Parksville, was not allowed to enrol for a women-only gym. Simpson was previously signed by the gym but was later told to leave the gym and should access the co-ed gym because she is transgender. Simpson previously stated that she did not feel comfortable working out in a place where there are mostly men.
“I fell out of it in university because I was just kind of intimidated being around a bunch of mostly really buff guys at the university gym,” Klyne-Simpson said in an interview with CHEK News. “So finding a ladies gym was something that seemed really exciting, and now that I’m out, I understand why I was uncomfortable at the other place.”
According to Klyne-Simpson’s statement, she was initially welcomed at the Bodyworks Fitness gym; a trainer welcomed her kindly to the gym. She also signed a membership agreement on the spot. But a few days later, the situation changed, and Simpson said :
‘Sorry, we made a mistake, you’re not allowed to be here, but you’re more than welcome to use the co-ed facility,”
Simpson said she was so much devastated by the incident.
“I just hung up because, I mean, I was extremely devastated; there’s no other word for it.” She said
Bodyworks Fitness gym, where Simpson was not allowed to work out, has two branches in Parksville; one is co-ed, and another is for women only. In his defence, the gym owner, Dale Nagra, said that Simpson was allowed to sign up in a co-ed gym, but other women may not be comfortable working with her at the ladies’ gym.
“We want them to be comfortable, but we also have to worry about the young girls that this gym is set up for and the women, and how are their parents gonna feel that they’re in there, then this person walks in with a male voice and big person,” Nagra said.
“So now you pick the comfort of the male who identifies as a woman…and then anybody can go in there saying, ‘OK, I identify as a woman, and I want to be able to go in there.’ And so, do we pick the comfort of the transgender person, and they may not be as comfortable with the co-ed gym but at least that’s an alternative, or do we pick the comfort of the young girls that are working out there that might not feel comfortable?”
The gym owner further said that there are transgender patrons who use the co-ed gym in Parksville, and they already have transgender people there. So they are not discriminating against people and are looking for a solution.
Kelli Paddon, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for gender equity, said we need to work more for transgender people’s rights. Simpson hopes that BC Human Rights Commissioner and Alberni Valley Pride may find a solution to the issue.
She lastly said: “Even if this was resolved, I wouldn’t want to go back there, but it’s not so much for me, it’s for other people, because I’m sure this is I’m not the only person that this has happened to,” Klyne-Simpson said.
“While I never set out to become an accidental activist or anything, I feel like maybe I do have a certain responsibility that because this has happened to me, I need to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”