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Woman Cancels Gym Membership After Hearing Employee Make Racist And Homophobic Comment

1114467/Pixabay

A lot of people would like to say that they are allies for the LGBTQ+ community and people of color (POC).

But it takes a confrontational event to confirm if a person is truly an ally who will speak up for the people they claim to be supporting, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ProfessionalOdd8023, for example, immediately canceled a gym membership when she overheard an employee making comments she did not support.

But when she was scolded for her actions, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was making too big of a deal out of it.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for canceling my gym membership?”

The OP heard something she did not approve of at her new gym.

“I was in the process of signing up for a gym membership. We (my boyfriend and I had gone together) had basically done all the paperwork, and it was just getting processed.”

“While we were waiting, one of the staff said to another member of the staff that they hoped the ‘Black d*ke’ didn’t sign up, referring to another potential customer.”

“I was shocked and lost my voice for a moment.”

“Nobody berated the trainer unless you count, ‘Shush.'”

She decided to take immediate action.

“I instantly demanded they cancel my registration.”

“The staff member who helping us started to get upset (I had been paying for a considerably expensive package).”

“They asked why, said it was too late to cancel, tried to insist I pay the cancellation fee, etc.”

“I said that since I’m spending my time and money on the gym, I should be able to do it in a place where I can really relax and focus on exercising.”

“The trainer’s comment made me feel viscerally disgusted, and now I’m going to associate that feeling every time I look at her.”

“Also, the fact that she felt comfortable saying that makes me feel uncomfortable, and I have the right to choose to spend my money in a way that makes me happy.”

“I refused to pay the cancellation fee because I hadn’t even spent a second in the gym yet.”

The OP’s boyfriend didn’t appreciate her actions.

“My boyfriend didn’t say anything then, but later said I was acting like an a** for butting in when it wasn’t my place (I’m White, female, hetero).”

“He said this was especially true when the person the comment was about hadn’t said anything.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP did the right thing.

“If I had a gym membership at this place and heard that personal trainers were talking about people literally trying to better themselves by working out at the gym, I’d drop my membership in a heartbeat and wouldn’t hesitate to let them know why.”

“Good on you, OP. The world needs more people like you. NTA.” – imgoodryan2

“You are what you tolerate.”

“NTA, OP. This is exactly the kind of situation when you should stand up and say something.” – aSeaPersonByNight

“NTA. What that trainer said was awful. I wouldn’t want to go to that gym, either.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re cishet and White, that comment was disgusting and should never be said in a place where your paying customers can hear (though realistically, that kind of thing shouldn’t be said at all).” – xxLostAngelxx

Others agreed and said she could even go a step further. 

“NTA.”

“You should elevate that to higher-ups, and even blast them on social media. What a horrible thing to say, that gym deserves a name drop.” – ratsandmcdonalds

“NTA but blast them publically on social media. Hurt their business. F**k people and their complacency for racism and prejudice.”

“You did the right thing, they shouldn’t get a cent of anyone’s money if that’s the people they have for staff.”

“I’m a POC, but I’m White-passing, so I hear all the racist comments too with people not realizing or forgetting I’m half Asian.”

“How common racism is still so prevalent, tolerated, and accepted is disgusting. Your boyfriend needs a reality check though if he thought you were the AH in the situation.” – OkChampion2509

“NTA. You have every right to spend your money where you want and you have decided that doesn’t involve supporting businesses that are okay with such disgusting attitudes.”

“Tell your boyfriend he’s wrong. Everyone needs to stand up against racism and homophobia. Maybe that other lady didn’t hear the comment or maybe she was too upset to speak. You were offended enough to speak up.”

“As for paying a cancellation fee, isn’t there usually a cooling-off period involved? In any case, I wouldn’t pay it.” – Dimityblue

Some also wondered about the quality of the OP’s boyfriend.

“Your boyfriend just showed us that he will never stand up for OP when she is the victim of discrimination, just like he doesn’t stand up for anyone else.”

“I would be seriously doubting a relationship with a person that does not even have a sense of wrong or right and thinks OP is the one creating a problem when all OP wants is control over how she spends her money.”

“‘Come on babe, they’re discriminating against other people, that has nothing to do with us.'” – Academic_Snow_7680

“What the boyfriend said about it not being her place — it’s exactly the people that aren’t facing adversity that should step up in these situations. It makes the case so much stronger and helps make the victims feel justified and supported.” – domingerique

“People who benefit from White straight privilege need to stand up for people who don’t. People who are subjected to this denigration and aggression shouldn’t have to go through it on their own and watch people standing by silently or turning away.”

“The boyfriend in this scenario has clearly never heard of the concept that no one is an island.” – Medievalmoomin

While the OP was still thinking about her boyfriend’s reaction, the subReddit insisted she had done the right thing as an ally.

Calling out the business was what should have been done, whether or not she wanted to take it a step further and address them on social media. It was troubling for the sub that her boyfriend couldn’t get behind that.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.