Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



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

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."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

EXCLUSIVE Trans Minneapolis city councilmember talks about violence, George Floyd 2020-05-30 - In 2017, Phillipe Cunningham ( a DePaul University graduate ) made history when he became one of the first openly transgender men to ...

Gay News

Lightfoot announces 'Open Streets' plan 2020-05-29 - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined commissioners Gia Biagi and Rosa Escareno from the Chicago Departments of Transportation ( CDOT ) and Business Affairs ...

Gay News

Report: Same-sex weddings boost state economies $3.8 B since marriage equality ruling 2020-05-29 - More than half of all married same-sex couples in the United States married after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, ...

Gay News

Chicago House to present Impact of COVID-19 on trans communities May 29 2020-05-28 - CHICAGO, IL — Transgender people, who traditionally experience barriers accessing safe and affirming health care and having their concerns listened to and understood, ...

Gay News

Summer weather draws crowds, and criticism, to Andersonville 2020-05-27 - Numerous Chicagoans emerged from isolation over Memorial Day weekend looking to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. Many residents and visitors in Andersonville ...

Gay News

Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast, features Julie Proudfoot interviewing Tracy Baim 2020-05-27 - On Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast #103, Julie Proudfoot interviews Tracy Baim, award-winning journalist and publisher, about her work in Chicago as an openly-gay ...

Gay News

Chicago artists virtually unveil mural honoring LGBTQ community 2020-05-27 - CHICAGO, IL — Chicago artists Andy Bellomo and Sandra Antongiorgi have virtually unveiled a new mural that highlights queer artists of color who ...

Gay News

COVID-19 LGBT nursing personnel discuss pandemic experiences 2020-05-27 - Thousands of healthcare professionals in Chicago, many of them members of the city's LGBT community, have been thrown into the frontlines of America's ...

Gay News

WORLD New HIV news, Catholic event, conversion therapy, Hungary anti-trans bill 2020-05-27 - A global trial stated that a new HIV drug injected every two months effectively reduces the rate of infection, and provides longer and ...

Gay News

Lightfoot gets win with passage of casino bill 2020-05-24 - Pulling off a feat that her mayor predecessors could not accomplish, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot scored a win when Illinois legislators, on May ...


Copyright © 2020 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 Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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.