NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A cross-dressing guy says he lost his gym membership because he’s not manly enough. The controversy centers on the use of locker rooms, and what makes other members comfortable.
The former gym member shared his story with WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter.
“I been this way all my life,” Slidell native Keegan Burnett said.
All Keegan Burnett wanted to do was get in shape. But soon after joining Slidell Athletic Club there was a problem.
Keegan was allegedly denied use of both the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
“I should be able to use the men’s facility because I am legally a man,” Keegan said.
Despite the acrylic nails on his hands and feet, and despite the women’s clothes, hair and make-up Keegan identifies himself as a man.
“I guess I don’t meet the standard of masculinity and they figured that I probably can just go anywhere and use the bathroom but not at they facility,” Keegan said.
He says the one time he went to the men’s locker room, he was met with physical and verbal opposition.
He took his concerns to management and ultimately lost his membership.
“I think what’s most upsetting is when you have a situation where someone is harassed by individuals and the organization or a company decides to take the side of the people who are doing the harassment,” Forum For Equality Executive Director Sarah Jane Brady said.
Sarah Jane Brady works to end discrimination in the LGBT community.
“There should be no way shape or form where someone should be asked to leave a health club or theater or a library or anywhere, restaurant because who they are; or who they’re perceived to be,” Brady said.
In a statement Slidell Athletic Club Manager Tina Clair said, “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We wanted Keegan to stay a member, but he felt uncomfortable. We cancelled his membership per his request and issued a refund.”
Keegan maintains he is a victim of discrimination.
“You have people come in here with purple hair, blue hair, green hair, piercing and tattoos all over. You don’t tell these people anything,” Burnett said. “I want to let them know that it’s not right. This is 2014; everybody have a right to be who they are.”
Clair says Keegan wanted to use the women’s locker room, but she simply couldn’t allow it.
Keegan denies that claim.
Meanwhile, The Forum for Equality is working hard at the state level to end discrimination in the LGBT community.