Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Chicagoan alleges anti-trans bias against Orangetheory location
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 4537 times since Sat Mar 28, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Following two years of repeated requests to address alleged anti-trans discrimination at Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater, non-binary Chicagoan Jes Scheinpflug posted about their experiences on their blog to raise awareness about the issue. However, the company has taken issue with a number of these allegations.

In the blog post, Scheinpflug outlined the instances where they provided trans-affirming education to the Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater management and staff. This included asking that the intake forms have a place for members to provide pronouns. Scheinpflug, whose pronouns are they/them, said in the blog post that they were misgendered on the first day after handwriting their pronouns on the form.

Scheinpflug told Windy City Times they stayed at the gym and signed up for classes because they liked their trainer and thought that the business may be LGBTQ-friendly because of the rainbow flags they have seen there.

In the blog post Scheinpflug stated ( with a screenshot included ), "I have asked the front desk several times why there are only two options ( on the app ) and why it is labeled 'gender' when it is really asking for 'sex assigned at birth.' I ask what they expect intersex folks to choose. To this day, the app still asks for gender and lists sex options of 'male and female.'"

Scheinpflug also posted that three of the Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater front-desk employees attended the trans-affirming business training that took place in Andersonville last February. They added that, afterward, these employees told them they wanted to adopt some of the best practices they learned—but the gym management would not sign off on it. According to Scheinpflug's post, these employees no longer work at the gym.

Throughout these two years, Scheinpflug told Windy City Times that they kept on raising awareness at the gym but were told no changes could be made because corporate policies forbid individual locations from doing so. Scheinpflug added that one employee said corporate management in Florida would not change anything because they are more conservative than the Chicago studios.

Scheinpflug also said in their blog post that this past January that four people from corporate management set up a conference call with them via email. Scheinpflug alleged that, during the phone call, the first thing the corporate staff asked was if this call was being recorded—something Scheinpflug told Windy City Times signaled to them that Orangetheory knew it was doing something wrong.

They also provided proof of these email correspondences between them and various members of Orangetheory Fitness management to Windy City Times.

In addition, Scheinpflug alleged that when Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater posted an Instagram story where the public could ask them questions, many TGNC people were blocked when they inquired about the gym's trans-affirming practices. This is also included in the blog post along with a screenshot of one of the TGNC people who was blocked. Scheinpflug told Windy City Times that this was "another message to TGNC people that the gym does not want them there."

"I feel duped and saddened and erased," Scheinpflug told WCT. "I spoke up about this for a long time in hopes to create visibility for TGNC folks since we are regularly erased in this world. I never intended for it to get to this public point. I had hopes that this one studio—out of 1,110 in 23 countries—could make small changes to be more inclusive for TGNC patrons. After countless conversations with employees and management at different levels, things were not improving even though I kept getting told 'I care, thanks for sharing, keep helping us be better' while refusing to provide training for their staff. This is why I am speaking out.

"Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater touts LGBTQ allyship but [it] really [means] LGB allyship since they refuse to even ask for pronouns on their handwritten intake form. If we cannot even get one of over one thousand of their studios in a place like this to make such a small change, it is hard to not be anything other than disheartened or worse."

In an email statement to Windy City Times, Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater Owners David Lanz and Adam Paris said, "Orangetheory Fitness is deeply committed to LGBTQ inclusivity, and Orangetheory's policy is that everyone is welcome. Orangetheory corporate has been an exceptional partner in focusing on opportunities to be more gender inclusive, and we are always looking for ways to improve."

The email further stated, "Orangetheory's corporate policies are spearheaded by individual studios, and Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater has been a leader in creating some of the gender inclusivity practices that have been adopted by Orangetheory globally," including being one of the first studios nationwide to implement all gender bathrooms and signage and removing references to sex in weight selection recommendations and coaching.

When asked about Scheinpflug's allegations regarding the deleted Instagram comments, Lanz and Paris said it is not corporate policy to delete any comments to any post. Lanz and Paris also pointed out the Facebook Live event they held to celebrate the end of the most recent transformation challenge the gym held.

"With our community feeling deep anxiety and fear relating to the Coronavirus, the decision was made to keep this particular [Facebook] discussion focused on the tremendous efforts and achievements of the participants who had just completed their [eight]-week challenge," said Lanz and Paris in their statement to Windy City Times."With that being said, we understand that the rules of this transformation challenge did not meet our own standards for gender inclusivity.

"In January, we facilitated a conversation between one of our members and two of the most senior leaders of Orangetheory, including the director of fitness science. During this call, Orangetheory informed the member that changes in the 2020 Transformation Challenge could not be operational because the challenge was already underway for hundreds of thousands of members across the globe. As a result of our efforts, changes were made to the April challenge and Orangetheory is committed to reviewing the rules of future transformation challenges."

Lanz and Paris also said that because of the disparate laws regarding fitness contracts in each state, the forms have not been updated to reflect people who identify as non-binary; however, they are "working to ensure a multi-state compliance process to update all forms, and they will be updated."

The email also stated that Orangetheory Fitness is a heart-rate-based interval training program and that relies on current research which only covers the two sexes assigned at birth—which is why male and female are currently the only two options available on the app.

Additionally, Lanz and Paris said that after the trans-affirming business training in Andersonville, the studio has supported what the staff brought back from that training.

"This issue is so important to us that we and our staff have attended seminars and workshops on gender inclusivity and transgender awareness," emailed Lanz and Paris. "Our organization will continue to work to increase awareness within Orangetheory. Currently, our local studio is working with Jen Grosshandler of the GenderCool Project to support their mission, and we have assisted them in their efforts to present to Orangetheory Illinois's leadership teams."

In a separate email to Windy City Times, Lanz said, "I am sorry that anyone feels that Orangetheory Fitness Chicago-Edgewater is not a supporter of LGBTQ issues. This is extremely important to me personally and to Orangetheory. The things we have done in Edgewater and continue to do have made real changes in Orangetheory Fitness nationwide. I am proud of our progress and of how supportive Orangetheory corporate has been in hearing our voices. I know the job here is not done, and want you to know we will continue our work on gender inclusivity."

This article shared 4537 times since Sat Mar 28, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

British Cycling to ban trans competitors from female category
After a nine-month investigation and review, British Cycling will ban transgender women from the female category in a change that will be implemented by the end of the year, the BBC reported. Under a new policy ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Warhol, Sarah Paulson, upcoming books, Rufus Wainwright, Elliot Page
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled seven to two that the late artist Andy Warhol wasn't allowed to use a photographer's portrait of Prince for a series of pop-art images, per The Hollywood Reporter. Associate Justice Sonia ...

Gay News

Leading LGBTQ+ groups raise alarm to business community on coordinated anti-LGBTQ+ attacks; call on Target to lead
--From a press release - Organizations calling on Target and all businesses to stand up against anti-LGBTQ2S+ extremism in statement below: Family Equality, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Human Rights Campaign, National Center For Lesbian Rights, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Black J ...

Gay News

Louisiana Senate committee kills anti-trans bill aimed at minors
The Louisiana Senate Health & Welfare Committee has stopped an anti-trans bill aimed at minors, WBRZ News 2 in Baton Rouge has reported. Republican committee chairman Fred Mills joined Democrats on May 24 to kill Louisiana House Bill 648—a bill tha ...

Gay News

Louisiana Senate Health & Welfare Committee kills bans on gender affirming care, HRC responds
--From a press release - Baton Rouge, Louisiana — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, thanks members of the Louisiana Senate Health ...

Gay News

HRC condemns Ohio state senate for passing education censorship bill
--From a press release - Columbus, Ohio — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Ohio State Senate for passing ...

Gay News

Target removes some Pride merchandise after receiving threats
Ahead of Pride Month (June), Target is pulling some of its LGBTQ+ merchandise after facing "threats" and backlash from customers, Politico reported. Target's website features hundreds of items as part of its Pride Collection but will ...

Gay News

SAVOR 'Round Table II' brings chefs, nonprofits together to discuss collective vision
On May 15, the Avondale restaurant eden, 2734 W. Roscoe St., was the site of a rather extraordinary gathering of Chicagoland chefs, nonprofit CEOs and other business leaders in a moving discussion that centered on building ...

Gay News

Advocates applaud Illinois General Assembly passage of House Bill 1286 for gender-neutral multiple-occupancy restrooms
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Advocates celebrated passage by the Illinois General Assembly of House Bill 1286, legislation that will reduce barriers for businesses serving their communities and customers by allowing for the ...

Gay News

HB 1286 would allow gender-inclusive multi-occupancy restrooms, Chicago groups respond
--From a press release - Statement from AIDS Foundation Chicago, Equality Illinois, and Pride Action Tank regarding HB 1286 to allow gender-inclusive multi-occupancy restrooms: We applaud the Illinois Senate for passing HB 1286 and urge the Illinois House to act expeditiously ...

Gay News

NATIONAL DHS violence report, queer Democratic club, trans influencer dies, vigil, GLSEN Awards
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community are increasing—and intensifying, according to ABC News. "These issues include actions linked to drag-themed events ...

Gay News

WORLD Spain, South Korea festival, Eurovision, marriage items, Sri Lanka
Spain became the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBTQI+ rights around the world, The Washington Blade reported. "Promoting and protecting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ...

Gay News

General Assembly moves closer to passing optional all-gender bathroom bill
On May 18, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of a bill that would allow businesses and public institutions to provide multi-occupant all-gender bathrooms if they so choose, The Daily Herald reported. House Bill 1286 ...

Gay News

White House releases statement by President Biden on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia
--From a press release - From the White House, May 17, 2023/B> Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and equality—no matter whom they love, or how they identify. On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, we reaffirm ...

Gay News

Dodgers rescind Pride Night invitation to legendary drag group
On May 17 (the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia), the Los Angeles Dodgers rescinded their Pride Night invitation toThe Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—a famous LGBTQ+ group that ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.