The straight cis men at a corporate gym helped save my trans soul

1 month ago

I was afraid of the cis men at my new luxurious gym. But as it turned out, I needed them

“The number of people who’ve been murdered in an Equinox locker room,” I speculated to my then boyfriend as we lay in bed one night last fall, “is probably zero.” He nodded; we agreed we’d likely have heard about it, as tragedies (and harassment and missteps) at the upscale gym chain seemed to make the news. At the time, I’d been vacillating over joining for more than one calendar year, ever since a friend had told me that the locker rooms have eucalyptus steam rooms. This, finally, was the clincher: murderless.

Yes, it is a cliche for a man who was born with a vagina to be afraid of men’s locker rooms. And yes, my terror was still justified. When my friend had first told me about her fancy membership, I’d made an appointment for a tour, and the slab of a cis white dude working that day became instantly condescending and confrontational when I told him I was trans. Later, while he was showing me around the facilities, another large male stopped his workout to slowly drink from his water bottle while giving me a long, cold glare. I didn’t want to be naked in a room with either of these people. Ever.

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