Legal aid Doris Lange — Women’s fit­ness Erlan­gen

Doris Lange | Photo: NIUS with kind permission

Legal defense for the preser­va­tion of a fit­ness stu­dio — exclu­sive­ly for women — and for the preser­va­tion of domi­cil­iary rights

Update from Doris Lange, June 05, 2024

I am over­whelmed and grate­ful for so much sup­port. I haven’t even been able to read all the emails yet. Peo­ple have writ­ten to me from all over Ger­many ask­ing if I have a dona­tion fund and if they can sup­port me. I have increased the dona­tion tar­get because I have real­ized that a prece­dent is to be set here. What is being done to me here serves as a blue­print for tak­ing away our domi­cil­iary rights. With your help, I have the chance to defend it.
If we win the first instance and the oth­er side does­n’t appeal, which I don’t think will hap­pen after read­ing Ataman’s state­ments on house rights, but if there is any mon­ey left over, which I hope there will be, the mon­ey will of course go to the gen­er­al fund. Legal aid fund of Frauen­heldin­nen e.V., because this case will not be the only one.

Update Frauen­heldin­nen on June 05, 2024

We admire Doris Lange’s courage and nerve in resist­ing the creep­ing ero­sion of domi­cil­iary rights through harass­ment and legal pro­ceed­ings and stand firm­ly by her side. We believe that women have fought too hard for their safe spaces to be tak­en away by a fed­er­al com­mis­sion­er with strange legal opin­ions.

UPDATE of the women heroes on June 02, 2024

We have won­der­ful news to announce:

  1. In less than 24 hours, we cracked the first dona­tion tar­get of 12,600 euros.
  2. We will con­tin­ue and help Doris Lange to defend all our rights in court. We have dou­bled the dona­tion amount to 25,200. We will pro­vide details of the costs already incurred and the expect­ed costs as soon as we have received them from the law firm.

Jus­tice for Woman #Just­Women

Sin­cere­ly, yours and your women heroes

Acknowl­edge­ment from Doris Lange on June 02, 2024

The Frauen­heldin­nen asso­ci­a­tion is com­mit­ted to equal rights for girls and women and the preser­va­tion of gen­der-spe­cif­ic rights and spaces. Doris Lange is forced to defend her­self against a man who demands access to her gym for women.

Your gen­er­ous dona­tions help Doris Lange to main­tain her women’s fit­ness stu­dio. This also sends a sig­nal that women should not be intim­i­dat­ed if they are legal­ly harassed by abu­sive men.

Bank details

Tax-deductible dona­tion to:

Frauen­heldin­nen e.V.
Sub­ject: Legal aid for Doris Lange

Glad­bach­er Bank

IBAN: DE02 3106 0181 5311 3990 06

Pay­pal account:

If you would like a dona­tion receipt, please write your address in the sub­ject line. Thank you very much!


The non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion Frauen­heldin­nen e.V. retains a 5 per­cent pro­cess­ing fee from your dona­tion. This helps us to finance part of the work asso­ci­at­ed with a fundrais­ing cam­paign. If you pay via Pay­pal, the Pay­pal fees will be deduct­ed from your dona­tion.
The costs incurred for the pro­ce­dure are not yet known. If at the end of the fundrais­er more dona­tions have been received than are need­ed, your dona­tion will go into the gen­er­al legal aid fund of Frauen­heldin­nen e.V. and will be used to defend against sim­i­lar attacks on women’s rights and women’s spaces.

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Dear sup­port­ers,

I am Doris Lange, 58 years old, a sports teacher, moth­er of 2 grown-up chil­dren and have been run­ning the Erlan­gen women’s fit­ness stu­dio lady’s first for 32 years. It is delib­er­ate­ly only open to women so that women have a safe space to train undis­turbed, have a chat and use the well­ness area. I’ve often been asked why I don’t open the stu­dio to men as well and why I’m depriv­ing myself of half the mar­ket, so to speak, but I’ve always been of the opin­ion that this safe space for women only is an impor­tant and appro­pri­ate offer and that’s exact­ly what our con­cept should be.

A few weeks ago, my world start­ed to turn upside down. A per­son came to our stu­dio who claimed to be a trans woman and want­ed to become a mem­ber. I was not present myself. She told my young col­league that she had not yet under­gone gen­der reas­sign­ment surgery. She also did not present any iden­ti­fi­ca­tion show­ing that her name was female. My cowork­er was unsure how to deal with this and arranged a tri­al train­ing ses­sion with her, with the pro­vi­so that she would first con­sult with her boss and then give her feed­back. As far as show­er­ing was con­cerned, the per­son sug­gest­ed to my cowork­er that she could wear a bathing suit.

When I found out about this, I made the deci­sion that my women’s fit­ness stu­dio would not be able to accom­mo­date this per­son. Even with swim­ming trunks, the per­son remains a bio­log­i­cal man, none of my cus­tomers want to show­er like that. But not only in the chang­ing and show­er area, but also in the — only — train­ing area, I guar­an­tee my female cus­tomers a pro­tect­ed area where they can train with­out bio­log­i­cal men. With a not insignif­i­cant pro­por­tion of Mus­lim women, some trau­ma­tized women and also under­age girls whose moth­ers reg­is­ter their daugh­ters with us in a safe space, I would be break­ing my promise to my clients. Cus­tomers would — right­ly — quit in droves and I could close my busi­ness.

I informed the per­son of my deci­sion and asked for their under­stand­ing. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I was met with a lack of under­stand­ing, there were sev­er­al emails back and forth and I was sup­posed to meet on site for dis­cus­sion. In the end, I invoked my right as the own­er to make this deci­sion and broke off the dis­cus­sion.

When I thought every­thing was set­tled, I dis­cov­ered that the per­son had rat­ed us extreme­ly poor­ly on Google. Grad­u­al­ly, the whole thing became men­tal­ly stress­ful, but it got worse. On May 16, I received a very offi­cial-look­ing let­ter from a fed­er­al agency. The sender was the Fed­er­al Government’s Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mis­sion­er, Ms. Fer­da Ata­man.

She wrote to me say­ing that by refus­ing to accept a “trans woman”, as she put it, I was vio­lat­ing her per­son­al rights and “rec­om­mend­ed” that I pay her 1,000 euros in com­pen­sa­tion for the “per­son­al injury suf­fered”.

My col­leagues and I no longer under­stood the world. We were sup­posed to pay 1,000 euros for not want­i­ng to admit a bio­log­i­cal male to a women’s gym? What about our inter­ests? Would­n’t it be dis­crim­i­na­to­ry for women to have to expect a bio­log­i­cal man to dress and train next to them from now on?

I decid­ed to hire a lawyer despite the costs involved and found a law firm that has a lot of expe­ri­ence with fit­ness stu­dios. My lawyer advised me to fight back and go to the press. It said it was by no means clear that I had bro­ken any laws. This was fol­lowed by a reply to the author­i­ty.

It was a good thing that I already had a lawyer, because it got even worse: on May 22nd I got anoth­er let­ter. This time from a law firm that sent me a let­ter demand­ing that I let the per­son they referred to as a “woman” into my com­pa­ny or pay a fine of 5,000 euros. I was also ordered to pay the per­son 2,500 in dam­ages. Then there’s the 1,000 euros that the anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion offi­cer wants me to pay.

I will now defend myself against all of this by all means with the help of a lawyer, but of course this will cause quite a few costs, espe­cial­ly as nobody can fore­see how far the mat­ter will progress in court. As a small, fam­i­ly-run ladies’ salon, this rep­re­sents a high finan­cial bur­den that I can­not pay out of my pet­ty cash.

Appar­ent­ly I am — invol­un­tar­i­ly — set­ting a prece­dent here. What is cer­tain is that I will not let it get me down and will con­tin­ue to stand up for the safe space for women that I have been offer­ing for 32 years. I will not allow my busi­ness mod­el to be tak­en ad absur­dum and will do every­thing I can to ensure that there con­tin­ues to be a safe space for women.

With the help of the non-prof­it asso­ci­a­tion Frauen­heldin­nen, I am now col­lect­ing dona­tions to build up a reserve for the oth­er side’s claims and to pay my legal fees, as well as the expect­ed court and admin­is­tra­tive costs. I would be delight­ed if you would sup­port me via the dona­tion tool of the Frauen­heldin­nen asso­ci­a­tion.

I will keep you up to date on a reg­u­lar basis.

Yours sin­cere­ly

Doris Lange

Doris Lange | Photo: NIUS

Doris Lange | Foto: NIUS

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