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Trans Woman Settles Lawsuit Against California Gym

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

A transgender woman has settled a lawsuit with a gym in California over the gym not allowing her access to the locker room.

Christynne Wood said in a lawsuit against Crunch Fitness in El Cajon that she was not allowed to use the women's locker room and restroom in violation of state law.

Wood credits the gym's aquatic center with helping her lose over 140 pounds over the last decade. Last week, she celebrated winning her legal battle with the Crunch Fitness location. She partnered with the ACLU to sue the gym after she said they discriminated against her because she is transgender.

Wood was a member of the gym for nine years before she was transitioning. She notified the gym that she was transitioning and would need access to the women's facilities. When she presented management with proof of her legal name and gender change, things didn't go as planned.

"I brought my paperwork out to show them and was immediately told 'no, no, no, not so fast,'" Wood said.

It took more than seven months and two verbal assaults in the men's room at the gym before Wood was given access to the female locker rooms and restrooms.

Wood will receive a payment of an undisclosed sum and the gym has agreed that all its employees will undergo anti-discrimination training, including the identification and prevention of harassment based on gender expression.

"I feel elated and validated to finally reach resolution in this case," Wood said. "I hope the settlement helps the owners of Crunch and other gyms appreciate the importance of respecting transgender people's identities. It's not only our legal right, but also could save a life."

Since the events described in the lawsuit, the ownership and management of the gym have changed and Wood remains a member and user of the gym.

California's Unruh Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. It mandates that trans people have access to the restroom and locker room that align with their gender identity.

Despite the lawsuit, Wood still credits the gym for helping her on her weight loss journey and continues to be a client. "I desperately love my instructors and fellow students. They are my sisters," she told News 8.

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