Curiosity Delivers.

Commentary: Exercising justice at the McGill Fitness Centre

a/Opinion by

Controversy stirred on campus last week as Soumia Allalou and Raymond Grafton, two McGill Law students, reached out to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) asking for endorsement for the implementation of women-only hours at the McGill Fitness Centre. Despite the fact that this is a common feature in many athletic facilities, including the fitness centres at York University, University of Toronto, and Ryerson University, the proposal itself has been met with negative responses. However, a critical look at the matter reveals that McGill Athletics has a responsibility to institute this change in order to remain consistent with the university’s goal of creating a safe and inclusive environment.

At the heart of the issue is the topic of religious and cultural tolerance. The primary reason female-only hours are being asked for is because some women are unable to exercise around men due to religious reasons. From hosting dry frosh activities to educating students about the importance of respecting other’s sexual decisions during Consent Week, the McGill administration and student body work hard to ensure that no student’s experiences on campus are hindered or devalued by his or her personal or religious decisions. The same approach applies to academics; McGill aims to ensure fairness with its policy that students are not to be penalized if they cannot be attend an exam on their religious holidays. Considering all of these policies that McGill has in place, it is odd that the same level of religious respect and promise of equal opportunity is not in effect with McGill Athletics.

Furthermore, the change would not only benefit those with religious restrictions. In fact, many women without religious restrictions may prefer to work out in a female-only setting because they may feel intimidated or uncomfortable using the gym in the presence of men out of fear of judgment or attracting unwanted attention.

The argument that women-only hours are unfair to men fails to realize that some women are completely missing out on a right that all should have as paying students.

The intimidation factor applies especially to the weight section, which is dominated by males. Some females may rarely ever enter the weight training area because of this. Therefore, women-only hours would even benefit the women who already go to the fitness centre by allowing them to experiment with new sections that they may typically not approach. In fact, women-only hours would help divide up the machine usage in general. Anyone who has gone to the Fitness Centre knows that there is a different distribution of men and women in the various areas of the gym. The cardio section is used frequently by females, and is usually the most crowded area of the gym. Women-only hours would help reduce this clog during the high traffic hours. Overall, this would allow for a more equal balance of the different machines between men and women, and would encourage, or at least make it possible, for everyone to try new activities.

Some may argue that women-only hours are unfair to men who would have to pay the same amount of money for fewer howers of service, and that those desiring that those desiring this feature should look for another gym. However, there is a large discrepancy between the student price offered by the McGill Fitness Centre and gyms outside campus. For example, a nearby female-only facility, Energie Cardio Pour Elle, charges $43 a month for students, compared to $25 per semester for the McGill Fitness Centre. Therefore, the argument that women-only hours are unfair to men fails to realize that some women are completely missing out altogether on the right to access fitness facilities that all should have as paying students, while the ones making the argument would only have shortened hours. Therefore, in order to remain faithful to McGill’s goal of creating a safe, tolerant, and community-oriented environment, the McGill Fitness Centre should introduce women-only hours as soon as possible.

  • CreativePerson

    Exclusive female-access hours for the fitness room is a very bad idea. Here’s why:

    In the middle east, women are treated very poorly. In some countries they are not allowed to drive, or even talk to men who are not their relatives. And women are sometimes stoned to death in the middle east for minor “crimes”. We do not want that repressive, violent, theocratic culture in Canada.

    When women from the middle east come to study in Canada, they should adapt to Canadian culture. Canadian culture and laws respect women and treat them as equals. We integrate women into society, which is much to their advantage. Therefore, women should not ask for segregation, or segregated gym access.

    Women should not feel uncomfortable using gym equipment around men. Men do not expect women to perform at the same level. Men recognize that women’s physiques are inherently different.

    Besides, not all men are star athletes, yet the less-athletic men do not insist on exclusive access to avoid embarrassment. Moreover, many women do excel in other fields, such as languages, yet men do not insist on segregated classes, just to avoid embarrassment.

    If we accommodate one religious group or sexual orientation that wants exclusive access to the gym, then we must accommodate each and every group that requests exclusive access. The problem with this is that by granting special rights to one group, we are taking rights away from everyone else. This is not fair. Moreover, it segregates Canadian society, which can only have negative consequences.

    Women who are embarrassed about being with men should enroll in women-only universities, not McGill, which is co-educational. Likewise women who choose a religion that restricts interactions with men should take responsibility for their own choice, and not impose a cost on everyone else. If such easily-embarrassed or repressed women enroll in McGill anyway, they should obtain access to private, women-only gyms, at their own cost, because their embarrassment or religion is their own responsibility, and not the responsibility of the other students, faculty, and staff.

    World-wide, women should be integrated into society and treated as equals. For that reason, I am opposed to exclusive gym hours for women. Also, it would not be fair to male students, faculty, and staff, to have their access to the fitness room restricted.

    Therefore, please do not set aside certain times for exclusive access to the fitness room for women. Men and women should have equal access all the time. We are living in Canada after all, not in Pakistan or Afganistan or Saudi Arabia. And we should all be thankful for that.

    Let’s stop trying to convince ourselves how wonderfully accommodating and politically correct we are. That is a false basis for self-esteem. Instead, let’s feel proud that we in Canada give women far more respect and equality than they are given in the Middle East. Face it, our culture is far superior in that respect. So let’s not cave in to demands that we adapt to their culture. Instead, it is to Canadian culture that middle eastern students should be adapting, for their own benefit.

    Please, let’s all be thankful that we live in Canada.

    • MarkLafue

      Nope.
      First: how people conduct themselves in other countries in other countries is of no concern to us here, nor is what these women are advocating for. The example they are using as a model of the proposed policy is Riyadh, but Toronto.
      Second: While the specific instance is that a relatively small group of women feel they can’t use the gym because of their religion, a much larger group of women will be able to benefit from this policy, both in terms of their own comfort levels and in less competition for equipment.
      If we accept that it would be ideal that everyone have access to the facilities should they want them, it is entirely reasonable to do what we can to make that access as broad as possible.

      Essentially there is a substantial number of McGill students that are currently have, for various reasons, NO access to these facilities. To get it, they are proposing that another segment of the McGill population give up SOME access to the gym, which for the majority of gym users will mean giving up nothing at all. The cost-benefits of that exchange are obvious.
      Third: Much of the resistance to this proposal takes the form of dictating to women what their needs and religious sentiments should be rather than accepting what those same women say they actually are. That is not how we govern ourselves in this country and is, in my mind, a form of intellectual totalitarianism that would fit in nicely in places like Saudi Arabia.

      • CreativePerson

        @MarkLafue:disqus

        Thank you for your comments. Let’s consider your points, one at a time:

        1. You wrote “how people conduct themselves in other countries is of no concern to us here”.

        This is a false assumption.

        The editorial states “The primary reason female-only hours are being asked for is because some women are unable to exercise around men due to religious reasons.”

        In fact, religious prohibitions against sexual integration are a characteristic of Islamic societies in particular. These societies cultivate a male attitude toward women that is repressive, demeaning, and physically abusive. In various Islamic cultures, women are not allowed to go out alone or drive a car, acid is thrown in some women’s faces by men who are not brought to justice, some women are stoned to death, and in general, women are not allowed a role in government. It is much easier to abuse these women because they are segregated from male society. Thus, sexual segregation is at the root of the problem.

        How people conduct themselves in other countries should indeed be a concern for us here. When we welcome foreigners to study in Canada, it is our responsibility to enlighten them, not to accommodate the dysfunctional aspects of their culture. We should not ignore the barbaric treatment of women in the Middle East. And we must not allow that oppressive culture to take root here. As sexual segregation is at the root of the problem, we must oppose it.

        If other Canadian universities have adopted sexual segregation, that is their mistake. It would be wrong for us to follow in their misguided footsteps.

        2. You wrote, “a much larger group of women will be able to benefit from this policy, both in terms of their own comfort levels and in less competition for equipment.”

        Your view is one-sided. Perhaps numerous other groups and individuals might also want exclusive access to the gym, including overweight people, thin people, heterosexuals, gays, various visible minorities, Caucasians, professors, and graduate students, etc. However, granting exclusive access to such groups would deprive all other users of equal access to the gym. This would be unfair. It would also limit the free mingling of students, faculty, and staff at McGill, and degrade the healthy sense of camaraderie and community we presently enjoy.

        Moreover, all gym users must compete for the gym equipment, and there is no need to give women a special advantage in that regard.

        Hence, to make access “as broad as possible”, we must allow equal access to the gym for everyone at all times.

        3. You wrote, “Essentially there is a substantial number of McGill students that currently have, for various reasons, NO access to these facilities.”

        This is simply not true. They do have equal access, just like everyone else. If they refuse to use the gym, whether because of their chosen religion or their feelings of embarrassment, that is their responsibility alone.

        4. You wrote, “they are proposing that another segment of the McGill population give up SOME access to the gym, which for the majority of gym users will mean giving up nothing at all.”

        In fact a person can use the gym only when his or her schedule permits, whether between classes, during breaks, early morning, or in the evening. If, in the limited time slot available to them, the gym is claimed by a particular group, then that person will be prevented from using the gym altogether. This would be unfair.

        5. You wrote, “Much of the resistance to this proposal takes the form of dictating to women what their needs and religious sentiments should be rather than accepting what those same women say they actually are.”

        No, in Canada, women are free to believe and act as they choose, but their choices are their own responsibility. The rest of us should not have to suffer for their choices. Moreover, we should not accommodate cultural practices such as sexual segregation that are fundamentally at odds with our secular culture, the co-ed environment at McGill, and our respect for women.

        In Canada, we are fortunate that everyone can enjoy freedom of belief, expression, and action. But the basic principle is that we all start with equal rights, and we can exercise those rights freely, provided that we do not infringe on the rights of others. Thus we all can enjoy free use of the gym, but no one can have exclusive access to it, because that would infringe on the rights of the other students, faculty, and staff.

        Finally, I’m ignoring your last statement because it is patently absurd, and has no relevance to my previous letter.

        I hope I have helped you and everyone reason through the issues with greater clarity.

        • MarkLafue

          Again, the conduct and laws of other countries are not germane to this issue. In Canada, our laws and values do not take their motivation through opposition or inspiration to those of other countries. They stand on their own. Similarly, McGill (neither a country or culture, FYI) is an institution that ostensibly values diversity and seeks to foster it. From that principle flows the need to accommodate – within reasonable limits – the sensitivities and preferences within its community. Not all of those sensitivities are derived from religion, nor are they particular to a single religion. If a substantial number of McGill students would benefit from having women-only exercise time who would not otherwise get it, and those facilities are supposed to be for the benefit of all students, it is entirely reasonable to consider making that accommodation. Private-sector gyms have done so in one form or another for decades.

          “Perhaps numerous other groups and individuals might also want exclusive access to the gym, including overweight people, thin people, heterosexuals, gays, various visible minorities, Caucasians, professors, and graduate students, etc.”

          I would be interested in hearing on what basis those groups would make such a demand. Since, as has been mentioned, other universities in Canada have women-only hours without this cascade having occurred, it seems to me a hypothetical of surpassingly little value for policymaking in the real world.

          “In fact a person can use the gym only when his or her schedule permits, whether between classes, during breaks, early morning, or in the evening. If, in the limited time slot available to them, the gym is claimed by a particular group, then that person will be prevented from using the gym altogether. This would be unfair.”

          Another hypothetical, in which somebody’s only possible hour might be taken up by a segregated space. I highly doubt there are many people in the real world with schedules so full and inflexible that this is a real issue. That would be unfortunate for them, but it certainly isn’t “unfair” since the same constraints hold true if the women’s hour eventually settled upon conflicts with the timetables of some of the women who would want to use it.

          “Thus we all can enjoy free use of the gym, but no one can have exclusive access to it, because that would infringe on the rights of the other students, faculty, and staff.”

          Again, it would be “exclusive” to a population that represents about 60 percent of the undergraduate population at McGill, causing an “infringement” that amounts to a “back after lunch” sign on a shop window and the “right” is, due to the nature of the service and of the institution providing it, non-existent. More fundamentally, not everyone does have equal access to McGill’s facilities: I recognize that you disagree on that point. I do not presume to dictate to others what their limitations are, nor do I believe doing so is in any way consistent with the values of McGill or the society in which it is based. Vive la difference.

          • CreativePerson

            Mark,

            The central issue here is that people must take responsibility for their own choices. Everyone is free to use the gym, and if they refuse for whatever reason, they are responsible for that choice. They have no right to demand exclusive gym access at the expense of other gym users.

            Now, I note that you were unable to address some of the points I made in my previous post. Nonetheless, I will address each of your points, one at a time:

            1. You wrote, “the conduct and laws of other countries are not germane to this issue. In Canada, our laws and values do not take their motivation through opposition or inspiration to those of other countries.”

            This is not true.

            First, in my previous post, I have already shown how certain foreign cultural practices are indeed germane to this issue.

            Secondly, our laws are based very much on the history, laws, and democracy of England and France, and even Rome and Greece. For example, our parliamentary democracy is based on Britain’s. Moreover, numerous events in world history have affected our attitudes, our laws, and our institutions, including the two world wars, the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, and the recent terrorist attacks in France. As a current example, the ongoing terrorist activity worldwide has given Stephen Harper the excuse he needs to push the controversial C-51 Anti-Terrorism Act. So indeed, our laws and values are, and have been, greatly influenced by the conduct and laws of other countries.

            Reference: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/28/conrad-black-alarm-bells-must-ring-in-response-to-the-governments-new-anti-terror-bill/

            2. You wrote, “McGill … ostensibly values diversity and seeks to foster it.”

            Your statement is broad indeed. Are there not any limits to the kinds of diversity McGill should value and foster? How about female genital mutilation, as is practiced in some countries? Or stoning women to death? Obviously, McGill should not value or foster this kind of diversity. Therefore, McGill should also not foster sexual segregation, because it is one essential precondition that allows the many abuses of women in Islamic countries.

            More info: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

            3. You wrote, “From that principle flows the need to accommodate – within reasonable limits – the sensitivities and preferences within its community.”

            Actually, all gym users are already accommodated equally and very well. If certain individuals refuse to use the gym, whether because of their chosen religion or their feelings of embarrassment, that is their responsibility alone. They should not expect special privileges at the expense of everyone else.

            As for your “reasonable limits”: If McGill gave exclusive access to women, then it would have absolutely no grounds to refuse exclusive access to other groups who are uncomfortable for any reason. Thus, McGill might need to provide exclusive gym access to overweight people, thin people, heterosexuals, gays, various visible minorities, Caucasians, professors, and graduate students, etc. Obviously this would be impractical, and it would seriously inconvenience all other gym users. This would be unfair.

            4. You wrote, “I would be interested in hearing on what basis those groups would make such a demand.”

            Various groups might want exclusive gym access because:

            a) They are embarrassed that they are overweight, old, weak, or uncoordinated
            b) They feel self conscious because they are members of a visible minority, or have a particular apparent sexual orientation.

            5. You wrote, “Since … other universities in Canada have women-only hours without this cascade having occurred, it seems to me a hypothetical of surpassingly little value for policymaking in the real world.”

            Here you are implying that McGill should accommodate only those students who have a sufficient sense of entitlement and the political skills to demand exclusive access. But most people would be too embarrassed to make such brazen demands. Can you imagine overweight men demanding exclusive access? They would be mocked and ridiculed, and of course, denied any such privilege. Recognizing their predicament — according to your logic — McGill should cater to their needs without being asked, and should provide exclusive gym use for each and every subgroup of people that might feel embarrassed about exercising publicly.

            8. You wrote, “Private-sector gyms have done so in one form or another for decades.”

            Private gyms are free to serve any narrow consumer group they choose. In contrast, McGill does not have any such right or obligation. The McGill gym is a public good for the use of the entire McGill community at all hours when the facility is open.

            8. You wrote, “I highly doubt there are many people in the real world with schedules so full and inflexible that this is a real issue.”

            That is a false assumption. In fact, there are many very serious students with full schedules of challenging courses. Some also work part time, as teaching assistants for example. And some participate in scheduled extracurricular activities. Furthermore, there are many very busy professors and administrators with tight schedules.

            9. You wrote, “That would be unfortunate for them, but it certainly isn’t ‘unfair’ since the same constraints hold true if the women’s hour eventually settled upon conflicts with the timetables of some of the women who would want to use it.”

            Your statement is not logical. Consider this example:

            Jack’s busy schedule allows him to use the gym only on Friday night. But he is prevented, because that time slot is reserved for women. So he is inconvenienced for reasons beyond his control. On the other hand, Jill’s schedule allows her to use the gym only on Thursday night. But she refuses, because men might be present. Thus, her inconvenience is self-inflicted. By choosing not to use the gym, she has created her own problem, for which she is fully responsible. Therefore, only Jack is experiencing unfairness. Hence, you cannot equate Jack’s situation with Jill’s.

            10. You wrote that exclusive female gym access would benefit “a population that represents about 60 percent of the undergraduate population at McGill”.

            This is irrelevant. You are implying that McGill should offer exclusive use of certain facilities to certain groups because those groups are large. Would your logic also apply to large groups such as Caucasians or Anglophones? Should they be allowed exclusive use of labs, or the library? Should your favored group, women, be allowed exclusive use of the library, because they are uncomfortable studying in the presence of men?

            11. You wrote that any scheduling conflict might cause “an ‘infringement’ that amounts to a ‘back after lunch’ sign on a shop window”.

            It is insensitive of you to trivialize and dismiss the inconvenience that would be suffered by busy students who would be barred from using the gym at times convenient to them.

            In summary, the central issue here is that people must take responsibility for their own choices. Everyone is free to use the gym, and if they refuse for whatever reason, they are responsible for that choice. They have no right to demand exclusive gym access at the expense of other gym users.

          • MarkLafue

            First, you insist on treating Muslims in Canada as “foreign.” Many aren’t, and their nationality is irrelevant in this instance, because they are asking McGill – of which they are students in good standing – to adopt a particular policy. Again, their model for doing so is Toronto (and other universities) not the Middle East.

            As to the legal history: I’m going to be as concise as possible, since you insist on misconstruing the point: What is illegal here is already illegal, what is legal elsewhere does not matter. We choose how to govern ourselves based on our own values and priorities. Again, it is barely relevant because: McGill. Is. Not. A. Country. Female genital mutilation is not in its purview.

            One of the principles that we do embrace at McGill is religious accommodation where reasonable – for instance in cafeteria offerings (which does impose a financial cost on all students) and holiday observances (which can lead to inequities in pedagogy). McGill decided long ago that small sacrifices for the majority are an acceptable penalty to avoid undue burdens on a minority in matters far more central to the university’s mission and its students’ well-being.

            “Your statement is broad indeed….”

            Only if you take it out of the context in which I said “where reasonable.”

            Most of the rest of what you wrote is, again, a lot of hypotheticals for which I have no time: other universities in Canada have already introduced these policies elsewhere. Your hypotheticals have not happened. There’s no further point in beating that dead horse. More to the point (which, again, you misconstrued), I wouldn’t object to further restrictions on gym time if a good case for a different group were made, so its not a compelling argument even I believed it were a possibility.

            “They have no right to demand exclusive gym access at the expense of other gym users.”

            That’s basically another way of saying they have no right to disagree with you. You’re wrong. They have every right to demand whatever they want. The university has every right to organize access to the fitness center as it sees fit. You have every right to complain about it.

            “It is insensitive to trivialize and dismiss the inconvenience that would be suffered by busy students who would be barred from using the gym at times convenient to them.”

            Glorious. Absolutely glorious. NOW you think sensitivity is important.

          • CreativePerson

            Mark,

            Please do not distort what I wrote. The issue NOT whether a particular Muslim is from a foreign country or was born in Canada. Instead, there are the two main issues:

            1. Sexual segregation promotes and facilitates the abuse of women. This is abundantly evident in the Middle East, where the treatment of women is often barbaric. Moreover, sexual segregation is fundamentally at odds with our secular society, our respect for and equal treatment of women, and the co-ed environment at McGill. Hence we must oppose sexual segregation. Nonetheless, women who prefer to be segregated can probably find educational institutions that cater to that need, whether in North America, Europe, or the Middle East.

            2. All McGill students should be treated equally. Exclusive rights to the gym should not be granted to specific demographic groups, whether women, men, gays, or visible minorities, etc. If some women refuse to use the gym simply because men are present or because they feel embarrassed, that is their own responsibility. Their personal choices and shortcomings do not entitle them to special privileges. And they should not be granted exclusive access to the gym, the library, or any other McGill facilities, as that would unfairly inconvenience other McGill students.

            Mark, in my previous posts, I have made my points clearly enough, and I have refuted all of your arguments. Understandably, this is frustrating for you. But at this point, you are just spinning your wheels. Perhaps you might obtain greater satisfaction from pursuing a more constructive use of your time.

            Thank you again for your comments, and best wishes.

          • MarkLafue

            Sexual segregation is something we accept in Canada in a variety of different contexts for a variety of different reasons, including here at McGill. This proposed instance of it is not significantly out of step with practice elsewhere in Canada. Your point one does not stand.

            Point two: There is no “right” to the fitness facility, nor can access to it be described as fundamental to the mission of the university as the library. It is a service to which you are entitled by virtue of a contract signed with the university, which reserves the right to restrict hours as it sees fit. I am very confident in most people’s ability to distinguish between apples and oranges. Again, the evidence supports me on this, not you.

            And no, I’m not even a little bit frustrated. You’ve made precisely the arguments I had hoped you would, using exactly the tactics I expected. All in all, this has worked out quite well for my purposes, and I thank you for your contribution.

          • Omnitransia

            Hi MarkLafue,

            I’m a big fan of your work – your comments on the McGill Daily are always insightful and occasionally brilliant. I noticed that in this thread you offered refutations to the (rather poor) arguments of CreativePerson, but did not actually take a position on the issue.

            Regardless of confusions about rights and religion, do you think that this is a sound policy? That is, do you think that this is a reasonable way for the administration to accommodate the preferences or religious beliefs of some students, or an unfair imposition on the (male) student body at large?

          • MarkLafue

            Thanks for you kind words! I’m glad you phrased this as a “sound policy” question rather than “good” or “bad.” I certainly think it’s a justifiable policy: given that the Fitness Center requires a separate fee, it is closer to a private enterprise under the McGill umbrella than it is a service intended for all students like the library. As such, the petition is, in a sense, a means for customers or potential customers to express their desire for a particular product. From a non-commercial standpoint, if getting more people into the gym is a good in itself, doing what one can to broaden participation is also a good idea.

            I am skeptical that there are many, if any, people whose schedules are so inflexible that they can’t work around whatever time is selected for this. It is certainly possible that some people might be inconvenienced, but they aren’t suffering a greater inconvenience than one does because spin classes are offered at one time and yoga at another, or by the Center itself having reduced hours on the weekend.

            So ultimately, there are potential good effects, at relatively minor actual cost. While I personally dislike this kind of segregation, and wish we lived in a world where there was no desire for it, I don’t see any compelling reason why the Fitness Center shouldn’t at least consider satisfying customer demand.

          • Omnitransia

            You’re very welcome! I know posting on the internet can feel like shouting into the wilderness, but your audience is larger and more appreciative than you might expect. Think about it like lecturing to a darkened theater where, for the most part, you can only hear the hecklers.

            I agree with your conclusion. The possible negative impacts of this policy are minor and could be minimized further with some thought. On the other hand, I think those on the progressive left need to consider how the creation of women-only or minority-only environments might conflict with the overall goal of equality and integration.

            I recently read Dana Goldstein’s book “The Teacher Wars”. It goes into some depth on the community-control movement in the ’60s, which sought to redress the abysmal state of predominantly black schools by giving communities greater control in educational administration. Long story short, the schools became highly politicized, driving a wedge between black communities and teachers unions, and ultimately did little to fix the problems of segregated schools.

            Women-only time at the gym is obviously a much, much less significant issue, but it echoes the belief that oppressed groups can only be safe by self-segregating. I’m of the opinion that frequent, mostly positive interaction across gender/racial/class/political lines is a more effective way to address historical oppression.

            Either way, your writing style suggests the didacticism of a skilled educator, so you may want to read the book (American education has a fascinating history).

          • MarkLafue

            I’m grateful for you saying so: it’s heartening to know someone’s reading. I’ll check out your recommendation as well – it’s a period of history about which I know very little.

  • Will

    “The argument that women-only hours are unfair to men fails to realize that some women are completely missing out on a right that all should have as paying students.”

    This makes no sense. Your tuition does not include access to the fitness center. Students must pay out of pocket to get access. Therefore there if someone decides they cannot workout at McGill they are not being robbed of their money.

    “The intimidation factor applies especially to the weight section, which is dominated by males

    .”
    Look, just because someone feels intimidated does not give them the right to inconvenience everyone else. I would also like to add that the big guys at the gym are usually very friendly. We all share a hobby and encourage each other. In all the years I’ve been working out at the fitness center I’ve never seen anyone put down someone else or acting like a creep towards women, or anyone for that matter.
    I’m also curious what specific religious reasons prevent someone from working out with men, It’s not like working out forces one to wear skin tight or revealing clothing.

  • greggore

    discrimination is discrimination. if you support one form of discrimination, how can you oppose other forms discrimination?

    the reason why men only clubs was banned was mostly due to the fact that business may be conducted in locations where women were denied access. that exact same concept applies to women. more women than men work in canada today, more women than ever are working on boards, ceo’s management, ownership, contractors etc… and women only clubs brings the same problem back to the table, only on with the other gender.

    women who want segregation of the genders in canada need to understand that this is not a canadian right, objective or goal. in canada, we are aiming for equality of all and not just men need to learn this, women too.

  • CreativePerson

    Sadly, the petition was hacked on Thursday night, and many of the 822 signatures were lost, according to a post on reddit. So people who signed before need to sign again. Here’s the new more secure petition:

    http://goo.gl/IpvLtl

    Please let your friends know.

    • carniala

      do you know why or was it taken down, based on some censorship matter? I checked to see where they were at and it returned a 404 error.

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