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UK gym chain wants trans people to prove their gender to use change rooms

UK gym chain wants trans people to prove their gender to use change rooms

people wearing all black gym gear running on different treadmills

A leading UK gym chain is under fire after it was revealed it would not let trans people use the change rooms of their true gender unless they produce a gender recognition certificate.

David Lloyd is one of the biggest gym chains in the UK. A news report today revealed David Lloyd’s controversial policy.

‘Our policy is that unless the member holds a Gender Recognition Certificate, transgender members must use the facilities designated for their birth gender,’ a David Lloyd spokesperson told the Huffington Post.

A gender recognition certificate (GRC) is a document that legally recognizes trans people acquired gender in the UK. To get a GRC a person must be over the age 0f 18, have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, have lived in their acquired gender for two years and intend to live in that gender for the rest of their lives.

But it is actually illegal to ask a person to produce their GRC. According to the Law Society: ‘it is unlawful to request a gender recognition certificate’.

‘This is really scary’

Tara Hewitt is the co-founder of the Trans Equality Legal Initiative (TELI) and leadership and inclusion professional. She told Gay Star News this was just the latest ‘part of the narrative of creating a hostile environment for trans people in society’. The David Lloyd controversy follows comments by British marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe, that allowing trans women to compete in sport would lead to ‘manipulation’.

‘While the statement isn’t saying trans people are banned from David Lloyds, it will by defacto lead to that, because if you were trans you wouldn’t want to use their gyms,’ she said.

‘Even though a lot of cis people and allies said they would stop using the gyms after this, it’s just another space where trans people don’t feel safe.’

Hewitt described David Lloyd’s policy as illogical and unworkable.

‘Are they going to be asking all members of the gym to prove their gender?’ she said.

‘Their narrative has no logic and you have to question what their motivation is.’

Gender Recognition Act

Under the UK’s Equality Act (2010) trans people are protected from discrimination in employment, education, the provision of goods and services and in relation to public functions.

Hewitt explained there are exceptions in law an organisation may seek to apply but they must demonstrate they are seeking to act in a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim.

‘The statutory guidance for the Equality Act sets out the scope of this test and examples given are within the context of domestic abuse centres,’ she said.

‘It is broadly agreed that it would be a struggle for general day to day services to be able to meet this bar. If David Lloyd are seeking to apply these exemptions they would need to provide evidence of both the issue they seek to address and other steps they have taken prior to deciding on a policy of excluding trans people without a GRC.’

‘In terms of exceptions… the law around that is quite clear that aims to be proportional,’ she said.

‘If they’re (David Lloyd) claiming exceptions, they need to provide evidence of any past issues.’


Twitter users were quick to point out flaws in David Lloyd’s policy.

‘Suppose you could ask everyone for their birth cert or are you just planning on asking those who didn’t appear to belong for paperwork?’ wrote @0hJamie.

‘Hi @DavidLloydUK I am a cis woman who is very frequently misgendered – would I also be required to produce some form of certification if your staff are not convinced I am female?’ wrote @fossilheads.

Twitter reacts

Many people also vowed to cancel their David Lloyd membership.

Gay Star News has reached out to David Lloyd for comment.