The American Family Association, a Christian activist organization, has started a boycott against Planet Fitness gyms because of its "all-inclusive" policy that allows self-reporting transgenders to use locker and shower rooms designated for the opposite sex.
The AFA launched a movement on Tuesday calling on members of Planet Fitness, which has over 900 locations nationwide, to drop their gym memberships and email or call the CEO, Chris Rondeau, to inform him that the company's "all-inclusive" transgender locker room policy puts women and girls in danger.
Randy Sharp, AFA's director of special projects, appeared on Bryan Fischer's "Focal Point" show on American Family Radio to discuss the boycott. He said it's important that franchise owners feel the financial impact of enforcing such a "bad policy."
"This is a winnable case. We believe that common sense should and will prevail and that Planet Fitness will reverse this policy and protect women inside their stores," Sharp said. "We are hoping that because these are franchises that a lot of these store owners are going to speak up to the CEO and say 'This is a bad policy. It's hurting our business. We need to change our policy to protect women and put their interests first over those of transgenders or men who feel like women and dress like women.'"
A media firestorm was started around Planet Fitness' transgender policy after a women in Midland, Michigan, lost her gym membership after voicing her opposition to the company's policy.
As previously reported by The Christian Post, Yvette Cormier was stunned one day when she saw a big, burly man walk into the women's locker room. She immediately went to the front desk to complain to the staff but she was told that under company policy, people are allowed to use the locker and shower rooms for whatever gender they self-report as.
Unsatisfied with the employees' answers, she contacted Planet Fitness' corporate office and was again informed of the policy. Cormier, however, doesn't believe that Planet Fitness adequately informs its patrons about the policy and took it upon herself to inform others at the gym about the company policy. After a few days of informing others at the gym, Cormier's membership was revoked.
"This woman did what she should have done," Sharp asserted. "She warned all the other women in the store 'Be careful, there is a man in the ladies dressing/shower room.' And you know what they did to this lady? They pulled her membership and refused her admission and told her to never come back."
Fischer, who's the former director of issues analysis for AFA, agreed with Sharp, stating that women have the right to know if there's the possibility of men being in the women's showers and changing areas.
"If it was my daughter or my wife that was using a Planet Fitness, I would want my wife and my daughter to know if this was a place that they were letting men go into the locker rooms and the shower facilities and the bathrooms," Fischer stated.
Sharp also explained that Planet Fitness does not have a great history of dealing with sexual violence within its gyms, as their were three sexual assault charges inside Planet Fitness gyms in 2014.
"One woman is suing the store for sexual assault and sexual harassment by the manager. When you got that kind of policy, what kind of morals does the company have?" Sharp asked. "Last July, a man was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl inside a Planet Fitness. Then, another employee was fired last year for putting up hidden cameras in the ladies' shower room."
"If this guy gets fired for putting cameras in the women's shower room, all he had to do was go to the manager and say, 'I feel like a female today, he wouldn't need a camera, he could just walk in,'" Sharp contended.
Although Planet Fitness released a statement explaining that it takes pride in creating a non-intimidating and welcoming environment that is open to anyone and their "self-reporting gender identity," Fischer pointed out the hypocrisy in that statement.
"How welcoming was this Planet Fitness environment toward a woman who finds a burly man in the locker room?" Fischer asked. "It just shows you how when they use those terms, they are very selective — 'non-intimidating' and 'welcoming' for people who are involved in sexually aberrant behaviors or lifestyles. But for folks that are sexually normal and have a normal expectation for the kind of environment you find yourself in, you are not welcome here."