Gay man says employee at LA Fitness on Mockingbird twice called him a 'faggot'

Posted on 09 Nov 2009 at 1:26pm

A gay man says an employee at the newly opened LA Fitness in The Shops at Mockingbird near Love Field twice called him a “faggot” on Sunday.

The man, 36-year-old Jason Evans, said he’s notified the gym’s management and plans to file a complaint with the city of Dallas, which has an ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination in public accommodations.

An employee who answered the phone Monday at LA Fitness, 4540 W. Mockingbird Lane, said no one at the gym could comment on the incident.

“We’re actually not allowed to discuss it,” said the employee, who identified himself as an assistant manager. “If you’d like any kind of statement, you’d have to contact the corporate office.”

Asked whether he was aware of the incident, the assistant manager said, “Yes sir, and it’s being addressed. … All I can do is tell you to contact the corporate office.”

Calls to LA Fitness’ corporate office were placed on hold Monday. To read Evans’ account of the incident, jump with me.

Evans said when he went to the gym after attending church at the Cathedral of Hope on Sunday, sometime between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., there was no one at the front desk.

As Evans proceeded to the locker room, he noticed two employees, one male and one female, walking out of another room engaged in conversation. Once inside the locker room, Evans realized that he’d left his gym clothes in his vehicle.

On his way back outside, he again passed the two employees.

After retrieving his clothes, Evans came back inside and saw the employees near the front desk. He said the female employee snipped at him, “You need to check in.”

Evans snipped back, saying that he would have checked it, but there hadn’t been anyone at the front desk. He handed the woman his membership card and headed toward the locker room.

At that point, the male employee said to him, “Have a good workout, faggot.”

Evans said he was stunned and the comment didn’t immediately register.

“Have a good workout, faggot,” the employee repeated, this time even louder.

“He wanted me to hear him, he wanted me to respond, and the only thing I could say was, ‘You too,’” Evans said.

Evans said he proceeded to the locker room and tried to work out but was unable to because he was too upset. Before leaving the gym, he went back to the front desk and asked the male employee for his name.

“He said, ‘What for?’ and I said, ‘You know what you said and you’re going to pay for it,’” Evans said.

Evans said the employee handed over a business card identifying him as Mark Ramirez, a membership counselor.

Evans said he’s since contacted LA Fitness’ corporate office and spoken with the general manager of the local gym. He said he’s unsure what the company’s response will be, but hopes to see Ramirez terminated and barred from working at any other LA Fitness location.

In addition to contacting Dallas Voice, Evans said he had a friend post an account of the incident on Facebook, and he’s been encouraging other people to contact the gym to complain.

“It has blown up, which is what I want it to do,” Evans said.  “I just want the community to know what happened to me, and the simple fact is that the majority of the male members there are gay, and I want them to know what happened. Let them choose what they want to do after they know about it.

“This is about justice,” said Evans, a member of both the Cathedral of Hope and the Turtle Creek Chorale. “It’s about hate and homophobia and it happened right here in our community, in a gym where a majority of the male members are gay. This is something that I’ve never done, but at 36, I’ve just had enough. I want the community to know what happened to me. Once it happens to me, it happens to all of us, we all take the hit.”

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments