Brigid Klyne-Simpson is, in a word, devastated. And it’s all because of a gym’s insufficient inclusion.

Brigid is a biological male who identifies as transgender. The Canadian has made it official, complete with a legal name and gender change. And recently, Brigid wanted to hit the gym and sweat like a snowman in heat.

Bodyworks Fitness in Parksville, British Columbia seemed to fit the bill. As told to CHEK News, everything appeared fantastic at first. Safety was assured; Brigid even got a hospitable hug:

“One of the trainers there greeted me, and she was extremely kind. And she could basically tell I was trans right away and said I would be welcome there, and explicitly said I would be safe as well, even gave me a hug.”

That was at the gym’s female facility — the Bodyworks Fitness for Women and Tanning Salon. But a few days later, a call calamitously came. Hug, schmug:

“[O]n Monday, I got a call from the same person basically saying, ‘Sorry, we made a mistake — you’re not actually allowed to be here. But you’re more than welcome to use the co-ed facility.’”

Cue complete devastation:

“[I] kind of just hung up, ’cause, I mean, I was…devastated. I mean, there’s no other word for it.”

As noted by CHEK News, Brigid — who’s been on hormone replacement therapy for more than three years — is no stranger to being jarred over a gym:

She says she wants to work out at a womans-only [sic] gym where she will feel comfortable, unlike her experience at gyms while in university.

The exerciser recalls collegiate confusion:

“I didn’t quite understand why that was, like, uncomfortable because I didn’t know I was trans at the time. I still thought I was a guy as well.”

But now that clarity’s come, the iron-pumper purely wants explicit affirmation:

“[I]t was just important to me to, like, be in a place that would be, like, explicitly accepting like, you know, ‘You are a woman. You can, you know, you’re allowed to be here.”

Bodyworks owner Dale Nagra has other considerations:

“We want [people like Brigid] 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?”

Dale suspects the situation sits on a slippery slope:

“So now you pick the comfort of the male who identifies as a woman…and then anybody can go in there saying, ‘Okay, 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 at 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? They might not feel comfortable.”

One possible fix is pending:

Klyne-Simpson says she has reached out to the BC Human Rights Commissioner and Alberni Valley Pride about the issue and hopes to find a solution.

Brigid is looking out:

“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…I’m not the only person that this has happened to. … [I] need to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Given that it’s Canada, that mission may soon be accomplished.

It seems to me the story serves as seminal news — not the battle with Bodyworks, but the fact that the situation reached major outlets. Just a few years ago, had a biological male contacted a news group to decry a female gym’s unopen arms, it wouldn’t have prompted a featured story. As the country’s values and perspectives change, so do the issues that reach headlines and screens. What’s next in our social evolution? Only time will tell. But news 25 years from now certainly won’t bear resemblance to that of the past.

Meanwhile, Brigid has an alternate resolution in mind:

“I mean, all it takes is education. I mean, you know, once you understand, you know, like, trans women are women, trans men are men, nonbinary people are who they say they are and, I mean, it’s as simple as that. Like, and if…you still feel uncomfortable after that, I mean…that’s on you.”

-ALEX

See more content from me:

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