I wish that was a joke, but it isn’t.
I went to preview a New Dowse exhibition on transsexuality, intersexuality and the transgender community with its communications’ ofﬁcer Mandy Herrick and coincidentally, was told by a friend last night about a situation at a gym in New Zealand.
They had two intersexual (‘hermaphrodite’) clients. Other patrons petitioned the owner to remove them, otherwise they would not pay their fees.
Shame on us as New Zealanders.
We go around saying how open-minded we are, scoff at other nations, point out how we had the world’s ﬁrst transsexual MP—but no, when we confront intersexual people in our own neighbourhood, we do exactly what pre-US Civil Rights racists did when they hung out ‘Whites Only’ signs.
For crying out loud, these two clients were born this way—and you’ll be even more shocked to learn that the gym opened itself to a human rights’ violation by cancelling the two people’s memberships.
Imagine if they were taken to court and how much business they would have lost if word got out.
Wouldn’t it have been better to have pointed out to the prejudiced clients that if they couldn’t accept the situation, then they could take their business elsewhere?
Or go so far as to build an extra changing room and encourage more open-minded clients all round?
But it’s easy money to maintain the binary approach to life, pretending that everyone on the planet is male and female.
I think it would actually have been better business—and the gym could have marketed itself to the hilt, if it did the right thing. Milk it—why not? If you are providing members of society who are unfairly picked on a safe place, then you might get more business.
After all, gyms lack differentiation. I know there are a couple of women’s gyms here in Wellington, and the rest are all the same.
How about a gym that creates a humanistic, open-minded brand and actually got support from other members of society who might never go—just because they are ready to stand by your belief in human rights?
It was an opportunity missed—and the gym owner plain got lucky. He could have been sued to the hilt, the media could have smelled a great story and the public, even those who are intersex-phobic, would have jumped on the bandwagon and tut-tutted the business. Posted by Jack Yan, 04:38
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