A transgender man has spoken out after being banned from his local gym's male changing room.
Ali Ramezan, 27, began transitioning three years ago. He is currently undergoing a hormonal therapy. At 24, he started to wear male clothes and has begun wrapping his breasts since then.
The 27-year-old said that he has been going to the same gym for years, and was shocked when the gym's manager asked him to use the female changing rooms. Apparently, the request way made upon several customer's complaints.
"I was told that people at the gym had been complaining about me using the men's changing rooms and shower, and was told that because I have breasts and a vagina I could only use the female facilities," he told the Western Daily Press
"I was really upset about it - I sat with my head in my hands. I just felt gutted."
John Kerley, owner of Bodylines Gym, said he was disappointed that Ali had decided to quit the gym after attending for several years.
Kerley claimed that he was only "acting on complaints" and denied discriminating Ramean or the transgender community.
"I have known Ali all his life and gave him help and support. I have always taken care of him in the gym," he said.
Ramezan "This is the first time I've experienced transphobic behaviour from a business."
Under the Equality Act 2010, people who "are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex" are protected from discrimination by law under what is known as the gender reassignment clause.
Ramezan says he's received great support from the transgender community following the incident.
Campaigner and transgender man Kay Browning says: "I speak to transgender people every day who are facing inequality or discrimination against them, and whilst the public need to have an open mind, we are all equally responsible for representing what transgender is.
"There has to be a mutual understanding and people must have an open mind; we are all souls and that is genderless - it's not a matter of physicality or how people look, you know when you are speaking to a man or woman regardless of that."
Words: Anita Klich
Watch | Gay hacks to improve your sex life
Meet the stereotype-smashing men of Africa’s first gay rugby club