Yanel Valenzuela, a transwoman from Montclair, California, was denied access to the women's locker room at an LA Fitness she frequented after disclosing that she was trans to an employee there. She asked the employee for workout tips for transwomen. The employee alerted the manager, who in turn informed Yanel that she would no longer be allowed to use the women's locker room. After Yanel showed the manager her ID and produced a letter from her doctor saying that she was indeed a woman, she was still denied. According to Valenzuela there had never been any complaints about her using the women's bathroom until after she disclosed to the staff member. “It gave me emotional stress,” Valenzuela told the Los Angeles CBS affiliate. “I don’t think it was fair... I felt hurt because I don’t understand why she did it. She had no reason. She had no complaints from anyone."
Under the California Gender Nondiscrimination Act gender identity and gender expression are protected classes making it unlawful to discriminate against a transgender person because of their gender identity. California have recently introduced AB 1266, a bill that will allow transgender youth to participate in school sports and use the restroom facilities in accordance to the gender they identify as. This is a reinforcement of the aforementioned bill and will give trans youth much needed protections and support while ensuring they have equal access to participating in all school activities.
The other side of the debate claims that the privacy and protection of non-trans people in intimate public spaces such as restrooms or locker rooms is being compromised by the mere presence of transgender individuals. Anti-LGBT advocates also like to create hypotheticals, drawn from ugly and harmful stereotypes, about men pretending to be transgender in order to get a cheap glimpse of women in various states of undress, and even fabricated false stories of harassment by transgender people. However, being trans isn't a matter of wardrobe choice or an ulterior motive. Gender identity has depth and complexity. It is a state of mind. It is a state of authenticity when one's body, gender marker, and self-identity are incongruent. This isn't about playing pretend. It's about giving trans identified people the space to fully live a life as a man or a woman without being 'othered'