GERMANY: Balding Trans-Identified Male Now Demanding €2,500 from Women’s Gym After Being Denied Access to Showers

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A trans-identified male who was denied membership and access to the women’s showers at a female-only fitness center in Bavaria is suing the facility for €2,500 in compensation, claiming “personal injury suffered.” The suit comes just weeks after the gym was already ordered to pay him €1,000 by the federal anti-discrimination commissioner.

“Laura Hannah” Holstein, 25 and formerly known as Nicolas, recently came to international notoriety after filing complaints against Lady’s First Fitness Studio with the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. The complaints came after Holstein, who is balding and fully-intact, was denied access to the female-only facilities.

As a result of his report, the owner of Lady’s First was ordered to pay Holstein €1,000 in compensation.

But Holstein was not satisfied, and is now complaining that he was the victim of a “media witch hunt” after the news broke about his report against Lady’s First. Holstein recently acquired legal representation and is now seeking an even larger payout from the gym.

Laura Holstein

According to Lady’s First fitness studio owner Doris Lange, one week after being ordered to pay the €1,000 fine, she received communications from Holstein’s lawyers seeking an additional €2,500 in compensation, followed by another €5,000 as a penalty should she decline him access to the women-only gym in the future.

On March 29, Holstein visited Lady’s First fitness and attempted to arrange a trial training session requesting the use of the facilities – including the women’s showers. A young staff member who spoke with Holstein, as reported by NIUS, said that “no ID card identifying [Holstein] as a legal woman was presented,” yet a trial session was arranged.

As a compromise, Holstein said he would wear swimming trunks to cover his genitals while using the showers with undressed female gym members.

Kundin Antje, a young woman who trains in Lange’s studio, told NIUS: “His body is that of a man. If he really became a member here, I would quit.” She added: “The argument that he wants to train with swimwear is absolutely unacceptable to me. You have to imagine it: he is standing in swimming trunks and the women are naked in the shower.”

When Lange was informed about the situation, she instructed her employees to refuse him access to the gym as well as the showers. An email exchange occurred, wherein Holstein was told he was not permitted to use the women’s fitness center. He again attempted to negotiate, this time telling staff that he would not use the showers at all if he was permitted to use the gym.

After his requests were denied, Holstein posted a negative review of Lady’s First on Google under the full female name that he has adopted. Despite this, German media have avoided revealing his identity out of concern for the possibility of litigation and being ordered to pay fines.

“As a trans woman in particular, I had high hopes for the studio, as they are a studio for women and I therefore hoped to have a respectful atmosphere,” wrote Holstein in his 1-star review.

“So I arranged a trial training session and my first impression was very positive. But then I was told on the phone that they couldn’t accept me. When asked what the exact reasons were, there was only an unfriendly answer. Apparently they categorically reject women who don’t fit the concept. I find it very unfortunate,” he continued. “Absolutely not recommended for trans people and their allies.”

Holstein then contacted the Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman. The agency, headed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, sent Lange a letter ordering her to pay €1,000 to him in compensation, which she received on May 16.

According to the Anti-Discrimination Agency, Lange had violated the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG).

“The AGG characteristic of gender also protects trans* women. This applies regardless of whether the person concerned has already officially undergone a change of name and civil status and/or gender reassignment measures,” read the letter.

“We would ask you to consider what options and starting points there are for an amicable solution to the matter on your part. For example, we would suggest that you pay Ms [Holstein] appropriate compensation of 1000 euros for the personal injury she suffered.”

Speaking to NIUS, Lange noted that a significant number of her clients were Muslim females who required a sex-exclusive place to train away from males.

“With all understanding for the lady’s situation, we only have one large training room, one changing room and one shower. 20% of our members are Muslim women. The women come to our studio specifically to train in an environment that is safe for them,” Lange said.

“It looks to my female customers as if I’m letting a man train there – at least as long as this lady is still equipped with male sexual organs.”

On May 22, Lange was contacted by Holstein’s lawyers. Lange described the situation in a description for her fundraiser: “a law firm wrote to me asking me to let the person they called ‘woman’ into my company or pay a fine of €5,000. I should also pay the person €2,500 in damages. Added to this are the €1,000 that the anti-discrimination officer says I should pay.”

Additionally, women’s rights non-profit Frauenheldinnen eV, which is handling the financial support for Lange, was sent a press release from Holstein’s legal representatives on June 6.

Two law firms have partnered together to defend Holstein, with his case being overseen by Friederike Boll of geRechtsanwältinnen, and Katrin Giere of Dunkel Richter.

The joint statement, reviewed by Reduxx, presents many claims which contradict the personal testimonies of Lange and Lady’s First staff, and which even conflict with Holstein’s own account.

In the “statement to representatives of the press,” the lawyers assert that Holstein had undergone a “change of civil status” three years prior, by which they seem to imply that he has had his identification altered to designate him as a “female” – though this is not explicitly expressed. Such a claim would directly oppose the reported testimonies of Lady’s First staff.

The law firms also argue that false information about Holstein has spread in media reports, including the claim that Holstein had attempted to access the women’s showers.

However, a personal statement from Holstein himself is attached to the statement. In it, he says, “I was looking for open discussion and made suggestions for compromises … for example, I would shower with my swimming trunks on.”

As there have been several articles on the case within Germany, the lawyers further threatened journalists reporting on the situation with possible litigation. Boll and Giere demand that the press neither “wrongly call the trans woman a man” nor “misgender” Holstein.

“Misgendering constitutes an inadmissible expression of opinion… as a result of which our client’s personal rights are violated,” reads the statement. “Our client is a woman.”

This is not the first attempt made by Holstein to enter a women-only atmosphere.

As previously reported by Reduxx, Holstein was the first trans-identified male to be approved by the Bavarian Football Association (BFA) to play in a women’s football league. Currently, Holstein has reportedly begun participating in training sessions, and is sharing the female locker room with the women and girls on the Effeltrich/Hetzles Football Syndicate.

As some players are underage, concerns were raised about Holstein exposing his penis during shower times — an issue the coach attempted to address by providing Holstein a shower schedule.

The coach, Christian Wagner, is also preempting “transphobic” remarks from other players or spectators, and says that anyone who is discriminatory towards Holstein will be immediately banned from the arena.

Holstein reportedly began identifying as a woman after watching The Danish Girl in 2015. The film is based on the life story of Lili Elbe, a trans-identified male who died of complications after his body rejected a uterus implanted into him in 1931. Following the movie, Holstein says he was “touched extremely internally. I questioned what I really feel deep inside.” He then says he “discovered the woman” within himself.

Lange has received an outpouring of support since launching her fundraiser for her legal fees, meeting her target within 24 hours. Additional funds raised through the women’s rights organization Frauenheldinnen eV will be used towards future lawsuits, which the group already anticipates will occur in the future due to Germany’s recent adoption of sex self-identification policies.

“Apparently I am – unintentionally – setting a precedent here,” said Lange. “What is certain is that I will not let myself get down and will continue to stand up for my safe space for women, which I have been offering for 32 years. I will not allow my business model to become absurd and will do everything to ensure that there is still a safe space for women.”

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The post GERMANY: Balding Trans-Identified Male Now Demanding €2,500 from Women’s Gym After Being Denied Access to Showers appeared first on Reduxx.


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