A transgender woman, currently undergoing transition, has filed a lawsuit against a yoga studio in New York City, seeking $5 million for being forced to use a men’s locker room. Ali Miles, who also bears Dylan Miles, was born a male but now identifies as a woman, wears women’s clothing, and undergoes hormone therapy.
Miles claims to have been denied access to the women’s changing rooms and bathrooms on May 4 by management at Hot Yoga Chelsea, where classes cost as much as $1,9000 a year.
According to a lawsuit, she actually gained access, but it led to complaints from the other women. Miles, originally from Arizona, reportedly arrived at the Manhattan studio before the 5 pm class and wanted to get changed in the women’s locker room, but her presence was met with complaints, and she was told to stop using the facilities and leave.
New York Post reported it’s the third gender-identity discrimination case Miles has filed in the city in the last 13 months.
‘Female patrons … complained and yelled at Miles about Miles’ presence and use of the single-sex locker room and bathroom labeled women, and they demanded Miles leave and cease using the facilities,‘ the lawsuit states. However, a witness described Miles’ behavior on that day as disturbing and said she was ‘150% a man’ while claiming her genitals were hanging out in the locker room.
‘We have other transgender people [at Chelsea Hot Yoga], we have several trans women and several trans men, and there’s never been a problem. … it’s this individual,’ the witness told the New York Post, and added, ‘This person who claims to be a transitioning woman came into the female locker room, number one, in male shorts that were down to his knees.’
The witness continued, ‘Although there could be some hormonal addition because his bust is bigger than mine, he did not wear any feminine top to cover his bust. He also de-robed, and he is a full male. There’s 150% man. There were things hanging out. It wasn’t even like he was just standing there. He was crouched down on the floor in front of the shower stalls.’
‘It was very uncomfortable for one of the women that was in there and she was completely naked. This person started in immediately with reciting the law, and why would you do that? Because this person could see that there were other women, amongst myself, that were notably upset …This person, I don’t know if they come to these places to try to start a problem or whatever.’
Miles is represented by lawyer Peter Sverd in her case against Planet Fitness, where she had allegedly been escorted out of the women’s locker room, and a homeless shelter, where she claimed to have been assaulted by a security guard. Both incidents are said to have happened in the Bronx. As per the 2016 New York City law, places of ‘public accommodation’ are required to allow visitors to use the bathroom in a way that aligns with their gender identity.
The NYC law further states that places of public accommodations can also provide single-occupancy toilets for ‘all genders’.
Real estate property manager Anthony Mignano, who is not involved in Miles’s lawsuit said, according to MailOnline, ‘We’ve been informed by our lawyers to change everything … everything has to be a neutral bathroom now to avoid it.’ Another expert claims trans bathroom and locker room claims could hurt businesses in the city with litigation in a similar way the Americans with Disabilities Act has, which resulted in hundreds of lawsuits, including some from claimants dubbed ‘professional plaintiffs’ who file dozens of claims.