Virginia is for Lovers… well, not necessarily…

Recently an article was written by (see link) about a lesbian couple, and their daughter, being denied a family membership at the American Family Fitness Center on Brook Road in Richmond.  Oddly, the couple had already held a “family membership” at AFF for some time but it had lapsed.  When they wanted to renew their membership and include their daughter the staff’s excitement over their return quickly became dismissive and rigid.  “It is policy.”  “We only allow family memberships to those who meet the Virginia definition of family – a man and a woman…”  Really??  This family that they rejected is a good friend of ours.  Anyone who knows them will tell you that they exemplify the best of parenting. They are family focused, faith-centered, and driven by their hearts – for the betterment of all.  The AFF staff’s solution was to offer one woman with the child a family membership and the other parent to sign up as a single adult.  Oh sure, that makes perfect sense.  No problem.   Although the storyline infuriated me, I had to laugh out loud when I saw Wikipedia’s description of American Family Fitness.   from Wikipedia >> AFF’s mission is centered around providing a positive fitness experience for the entire family except for gay and lesbian families 

What I have to wonder now is: will AFF ultimately lose memberships, on principal, because of their policy and exclusionary practices (and if they do, will anybody know about it); or, will AFF become the fitness center of choice for hardline right “families” who don’t want to mix with the unenlightened – guilt by association.   I’m sure there is a less black and white response to that question – and I won’t presume that membership with AFF implies support of their policy – but I’m wondering … can’t help but wonder…


2 thoughts on “Virginia is for Lovers… well, not necessarily…

  1. Walker

    You raise a good question. Do we ‘vote’ with our money? I think we ought to reinforce our beliefs in such a way. Though if I had a membership in a gym I’m not sure how I’d handle this. Maybe a letter to the management letting them know how I felt about their policy. The thing is that if we don’t speak out about such discrimination, any and all of us, then shit like this will continue because the guilty ones don’t feel any pressure to change.
    This is a specific discrimination that surprises me really… a gym ? Unless it’s one of those *good* Christian establishments. And, in that case it may well be like the creation of many private schools during desegregation so that white people could feel comfortable/safe about their children’s education.

  2. helenvanpattersonpatton Post author

    First of all… Happy 56th! And I’ll see you next week!

    I never cease to be amazed by examples like this. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. I’m certainly not naive. If a normally very conservative judge can take the risk to cast out Prop 8 because it is unconstitutional… where is the logic of not allowing two loving and committed parents and their little girl to join a fitness center as a family? I have had great response about this post, and had one person share the post on her facebook page so that all her friends who were considering a brand new state of the art AFF center being opened in their area would at least be aware. Maybe subtle outrage (like you said, voting with our money) will actually help make a difference.


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