Transgender woman turned away from Wellington women's gym

  • 29/05/2018
Transgender woman turned away from Wellington women's gym
Photo credit: Facebook

A transgender woman says she was turned away from a women's only gym in central Wellington and told she would need to have gender reassignment surgery to join.

Penelopy Mansell visited Revive Fitness on Willis St on Monday to ask about joining, and was told that the gym's policy was that "transgender people are medically authenticated", she claims.

Revive has three gyms across the city, and markets itself as a gym "for all women".

The 38-year-old has legally changed her gender to female on her birth certificate and all legal documents, according to NZME.

Despite this, she was asked to provide evidence that she'd had sex reassignment surgery. She said she feels discriminated against, and was left distressed after being turned away.

Revive said it would be looking into its policy and speaking to rainbow organisations in Wellington following the incident.

"We would firstly like to apologise for any harm our current policy has caused," Revive gym area manager Cherie Cooper said in a statement on Facebook.

"The policy has been in place for a long time, but we acknowledge that this is no defense, and however unintentional it may have been we accept that it may be hurtful to those who are excluded by it.

"We know that this is a sensitive matter, and to that end as a business we are urgently reaching out to organisations within the Wellington GLBTI [sic] community for guidance and advice to review our policy and ensure that our gyms are a safe and comfortable environment, and an inclusive and understanding community for all women.

Revive says it's "happy to engage, listen and communicate with all interested parties" in the wake of the incident.