Sensuous in Satin

Reflections on Transgender life

Transgender Inclusion at NSW Clubs

Posted by Adrian • Wednesday, June 12. 2019 • Category: Being transgender
For the last 10 years or so I've been trying to arrest the gradual physical decline associated with aging by working out a couple of times at my local gym. This isn't the sort of fitness centre where the boys compete in their perfectly toned abs and the girls in their latest outfit from Laura Jane. Rather it is a modest well equipped gym attached to our local Leagues Club.

Over about the same period of time I've also been making a glacially slow change in how I present, first exploring the lovely freedom of being androgynous, and then more recently sliding into a comfortable but more restrictive feminine look.

As I explored the unconventional I rarely encountered any problems in the gym. The other users are such a motley bunch it really wouldn't matter what you looked like whilst pounding the treadmill! I also managed quite well in boys locker room. I see people making silly claims about how they had to transition because their breasts were too hard to hide - well I have only one reply - "dress smarter and try harder". A carefully draped towel over the shoulders meant I could take a shower without being called out. And a $5 Kmart sports crop top flattens everything to the shape of man boobs!

In the end my dream run came to an end about 6 months ago when a very helpful man pointed out to me that perhaps I had come into the wrong locker room (whilst I was fully clothed). To me it was quite a compliment, but I felt so sorry for his embarrassment when I explained the situation to him. So though the summer I avoided using the locker rooms - traveling light to the gym from home. But now it has turned cold and wet and I needed to do something otherwise I'd stop keeping fit.

It isn't my style to deliberately upset the gender status quo, but in the end I had to write to the gym explaining my predicament. No longer feeling comfortable in the men's locker room but not wishing to upset any female gym members by using the lady's showers. I offered to use the 'accessible' toilet as a compromise but pointed out that it didn't have any lockers. I shot an email off expecting it to land with a thump in the 'too tricky' pile. And waited.....

A week later I had a call from the gym manager. I was floored when she congratulated me for being true to myself, and thanked me for highlighting the issues I faced using the gym. Her first question was "Well have you tried using the lady's facilities?" - to which I answered "No, I don't want to run the risk of upsetting other gym members". I pointed out that the club didn't have any policy regarding the use of its gendered facilities so I felt exposed in making choices without asking. She told me to try out the lady's locker room and let her know how I got on.

I chose a quiet time to make the big switch, but to be honest, like most of the hurdles we put in the way of our transgender journey, this was a non event. The facilities were bigger, cleaner, smarter than the boys locker room but no one payed any attention to me. I reported back to the nice gym manager a week or so later, and asked if she could put her advice to me in writing "just in case" someone turned feral on me.

Things went quiet for a long time and then I heard back from the gym. Far from just fixing the issue for Adrian, or for all transgender people at Norths Gym, it seems to have escalated to forming an inclusion policy for all ClubsNSW.

This is what she said...

I hope you have been well. Apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

I wanted to keep you updated as to where we are at with a formalised Inclusion Policy, and to check in with you to make sure you are using the facilities to the best of your membership and feeling most comfortable doing so.

I want you to know the Norths Club is committed to encouraging any person to use the facilities corresponding to their identified gender.

Our management team are currently working with our industry representative ClubsNSW on establishing a policy for us to propose to our Club Board of Directors that confirms our commitment and helps articulate our position for all members to be well aware of. This too, may lead to a template policy ClubsNSW recommends to all Clubs in our industry to adopt immediately and consider further when carrying out facilities renovation in future.

We want to ensure there is no form of vilification towards yourself or any person in future by other Fitness Centre or general club users for any reason.

If you have any concerns now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to call me.....

Meanwhile I'm back to enjoying my workouts at the gym!