Paulina Malagón
Paulina Malagón (Courtesy: @paulinamalina / Facebook)

Xochimilco, Mexico City, MX – After a year of membership at the Xochimilco branch of SMARTfit®, Paulina Malagón, who had been consuming cross-sex hormones for three months, informed staff that he was now a woman and would require access to the women’s changing area and showers.

Staff at the branch refused Mr Malagón’s request to use the women’s locker room, directing him instead to the locker room and shower designated for clients with disabilities.

“I do not agree that your solution is that I use the locker room for the disabled for fear of any possible complaint from any user who is offended or scandalized by my use of the women’s locker room,” he replied by letter, greatly offended. Mr Malagón claims that, on several occasions, he had been the subject of “lascivious looks, prolonged laughter and commentary” in the men’s locker room after beginning the transition into gender identity.

Mr Malagón took to social media to complain about what he termed an “act of discrimination,” and to share a petition supporting his cause. The Facebook post quickly went viral, and the story hit the national news, bringing Mr Malagón’s petition a grand total of 14 signatures, including his own.

Cowed by the controversy, Smart Fit México issued a statement. The company’s “values ​​are based on delivering high quality fitness for all our users in a comfortable, safe and discrimination-free environment,” the gym chain declared in the Facebook post. “[W]e want to reiterate our commitment to transgender people so that they can use the locker rooms safely, according to their gender identity and expression.”

In the aftermath of Smart Fit México’s acquiescence, men and women took to the comment sections of news articles and social media posts to express nearly universal dismay or even outrage. They argued that, while Mr Malagón felt uncomfortable being naked and taking showers around male-bodied people, the discomfort had been unfairly transferred to women, who would now be compelled to be nude and shower in the presence of male-bodied individuals.

What a pity for this girl (or boy) but the women who make use of the bathrooms, showers and locker rooms of that gym that correspond to the ladies […] requested that [Paulina] not use the facilities for fear, since she is […] in the process of gender change, but still retains the male reproductive system, so it is uncomfortable for women[…]. Sorry for my expression […]. I have nothing against LGBTT people, but if one situation would be uncomfortable for that reason, I think other women would feel the same.
Hopefully, your problem will be solved soon.
Herendira Ponce

What do you not understand that you are NOT a woman? Why should I let you share facilities with my daughter?
Adrian Pliego

He is XY, he cannot change his chromosomes, he is NOT a woman and never will be, I have membership in Smart Fit and as a biological woman I would not like to see a man who “feels” and disguises himself as a woman in the women’s dressing room.
Feli Rang

What an absurd thing to force authentic women to share intimate spaces reserved for them with someone who is obviously not a woman, although he believes so, reality imposes itself. Now the women who are forced to consent must complain to Conapred because they are being discriminated against by not being taken into account in this decision.
Lotta Karlsson

I’m paying a member and a woman and I wouldn’t love to see a man inside the showers or in the dressing room, I’ve seen many moms training with their underage daughters would you like them to see that? Who will take care of their safety and integrity or is their inclusion bulls–t worth more???
Ale Buu

Is it not uncomfortable for a woman that a man sees her naked without knowing him? Isn’t it rape for a woman to have to share the dressing room with someone who has a penis between her legs no matter how much woman she claims to be? Even more, where is the right of minors […]?
Gabriel Palma

Many commenters, including some transgender ones, wrote that transgender people were entitled to their own locker rooms and restrooms.

I was going to smart fit in college a few years ago
For the people who wonder about trans.
We are not women and will not BE regardless of how many hormones and surgeries we do
Our minds are not women as we were never raised as such and our experiences in childhood were different
Not all trans people feel attracted by men. […]
In My Case, I’m super uncomfortable going to the women’s dressing room, which is why I would change and go bathe at my house.
The bad thing is when you want to go to the bathroom and you have to go through the dressing room and there are always women in different states of undress, which is not comfortable for them or for us
The best are neutral bathrooms, but we know that we represent less than 0.1 % of the population
Jessica Barron

In my gym a man with tits and a penis entered the women’s area where there are common showers for all users, obviously they felt uncomfortable […] so they took him out of there and he ended up in the area for men, where he drew attention for his tremendous tits. Definitely those subjects should have a special area to avoid those situations.
Feli Rang

Those who would like their voice to be heard on this decision should use the contact information below.

Smart Fit México
Contact form:

Pátria Investimentos (major investor in SMARTfit)
Address: Giovana Porto, Executive Secretary
Avenida Cidade Jardim, 803, 10th Floor, São Paulo, Brazil 01453 000
Phone: +55 11 3039 9000

Paulina Malagón circulates SMARTfit petition
Paulina Malagón circulates SMARTfit petition
Paulina's Letter to Smart Fit of México, which accompanied the post
Paulina Malagón’s letter to Smart Fit of México, which accompanied the Facebook post

Read more on this story

Mujer transgénero fue discriminada al ser obligada a usar el vestidor para discapacitados en cadena de gimnasios de Ciudad de México
Una mujer transgénero, identificada como Paulina Malagón, reportó por medio de redes sociales los presuntos actos de discriminación que vivió en las instalaciones del gimnasio SmartFit México.

La usuaria, identificada como Paulina Malagón, señaló que ha tenido que utilizar los vestidores de hombres
El Heraldo de México
En sus redes sociales, una mujer transgénero denunció ser víctima de discriminación por parte de los empleados de Smart Fit, ya que no le permitieron utilizar los vestidores de mujeres.

Smart Fit responde tras acusación de discriminar a mujer transgénero
La cadena de gimnasios SmartFit respondió a la denuncia hecha por Paulina Malagón, la mujer trans que acusó a la empresa de discriminarla en la sucursal Xochimilco.


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