Transgender man calls foul over gym expulsion

A Christchurch transgender man claims his sexuality rather than body odour is behind the termination of his gym membership and has laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Andrew Dobson says his Pro-Fitness gym membership was terminated last month after a manager told him complaints had been received from other members about his body odour.

He said the gym really wanted rid of him because he'd made it known he planned to make the transition to living permanently as a woman this month.

Mr Dobson said he was called into the manager's office on April 7 and told the gym had many complaints about his body odour, that he was using the sauna "inappropriately," and had made comments about staff.

His membership was terminated and he was escorted from the building.

"I was disgraced, humiliated, and felt like I had my rights and honour taken away from me," Mr Dobson told The Press newspaper.

Human Rights Commission spokesman Gilbert Wong confirmed the commission had received a complaint from Mr Dobson.

A mediator had been assigned to work with Mr Dobson and the gym, but mediation had been unsuccessful in resolving the issue.

Mr Dobson said he'd been advised he could take the matter further and was preparing a case to present to the director of prosecutions for the Office of Human Rights Proceedings.

Pro-Fitness chief executive Steve Barry said the gym categorically denied Mr Dobson's "totally unfounded" claims.

He said Mr Dobson's membership was terminated for "manifest and serious breaches of his membership terms and conditions".

The decision had nothing to do with Mr Dobson's sexuality.

"The exact nature of those breaches is a matter of privacy between Mr Dobson and Pro-Fitness and we are not able to disclose or discuss them," Mr Barry said.

- NZPA

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