By all accounts, Michelle’s transition from male to female in 2013 went very smoothly. She received tremendous support from her friends, family, neighbors, religious community, and her employer of 13 years. But after attempting to return to her company’s fitness center and using women’s locker rooms, HR told her she would be denied access because she is a transgender woman. Eventually, they told her she could use the fitness center, but not a locker room, which meant she would have to cancel her workouts altogether. Michelle finally gained full access to the fitness center by submitting a formal justification to her senior HR management.
“Before I transitioned, I often had to go to great lengths to keep my true gender identity secret,” she said. “I had been so relieved to live my life openly, and here I was being thrust right back into the closet. It was humiliating. I am fortunate that I could speak up. I am secure in my job and have the experience to work with corporate leaders. It shouldn’t come down to this – these same basic protections need to be provided to all people, not just those with a voice.”