When Just Ladies, a women-only fitness facility, rejected his application for membership, the male complainant filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination based on sex.
The BC Human Rights Tribunal dismissed the complaint. The Tribunal accepted that the complainant was denied a gym membership because he was a man but found that he did not suffer a disadvantage that warranted the protection of the Human Rights Code. The rejection of his application did not, the Tribunal said, adversely affect his ability to participate fully in the social and cultural life of British Columbia and it did not affect his human dignity or his goal to be fit. He was free to join other gyms with affordable fitness programs that were closer to his home.
The Tribunal found that women-only gyms were not discriminatory. The evidence showed that some women joined them to be free from the “male gaze” and to overcome feelings of poor body image which result from their disadvantaged position in society.