Roanoke Athletic Club Changes ‘Family’ To ‘Household’ Following Gay Discrimination Suit


Clearly feeling the pressure from Will Trinkle and Juan Granados's anti-gay discrimination lawsuit against them, Virginia-based Roanoke Athletic Club announced via Facebook today that it is changing its "family membership" to "household membership," thereby tacitly saying two things: one, that they'll accept same-sex couples and, two, that family is still straight.

Our goal has been, and always will be to encourage and inspire health and wellness among all members of the communities we serve.

In keeping with this goal, and in recognition of the many contemporary households that can benefit from our facilities through discounted membership fees, we are pleased to announce that we have expanded our Family Membership into a new Household Membership with the following criteria:

Household Membership:

A household consists of a primary member and up to one additional household member that permanently lives in the household, and any of their dependent children under the age of 22 who also reside in the household on a permanent basis.

Club dues will not change; dues for the Household Membership will be the same as the Family Membership it is replacing. There is no requirement to amend your membership, but should this change be advantageous to you, please contact our sales office. If we may answer any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

ABC News asked the club specifically if they will extend the discount to same-sex couples, to which a spokesman replied, curtly, "It is really defined on Facebook… That is definitely what it says — for public knowledge."


  1. MKisNE says

    So they tell a gay couple they aren’t welcome, and when they are told this is wrong they make a pissy, animus filled change to their rules so gay non families can use their facility. Wow. Insult to injury.

  2. BJ says

    Maybe I’m just getting old and therefore will take “victories” like this and not try to get all pissy about their past.
    I’ve read the club’s statement in this article three times now, and what I get from it is that all families are now households. Straight ones, gay ones… they are the same. This will also allow unmarried straight couples to join the club. I don’t think that would have been permitted previously.
    And while I realize that they had to have this national public attention drawn to them because of their stupid, bigoted action, the fact is they chose inclusion. That says something.
    I believe that if we open someone’s eyes and they recognize the errors of their ways, it’s rather counter-productive to continue to chastise them on their previous stupid behavior.

  3. Demeteri says

    See what happens when you don’t become timid and actually confront prejudice head on?…change. Progress.

    I wish more gay people had the fortitude and courage to stand strong when faced with bigotry.

  4. says

    I echoe the other sentiments that applaud the men who stood their ground and fought for their convictions of equality. That’s honest activism and clearly has an effect that forces people to listen and reevaluate their actions. Good on you boys!

  5. FanofDance says

    Lesson here.

    Confront homophobia? get results

    Be cowardly toward homophobia? No results. No rule changes. Homophobia keeps on going strong.

    I relish stories that put the pressure on homophobes as opposed to letting them freely and comfortably skate by.

  6. Kyle says

    @ BJ, their previous “stupid” behavior is what they truly believe and is only being changed for threat of a lawsuit. They are just as bigoted as before and deserve to be confronted with their bigotry just as much as before.

  7. Bob says

    Still can’t get over that Will Trinkle (FABULOUS NAME) wanted to use your swimming pool with his husband and kid?
    OK, change the name of the membership to something that insults everybody.
    Meanwhile, the anti-Gay jerks will be saying it is the fault of the queers that the word “family” had to be removed, so it’s a mixed victory.
    The main point is that the couple’s protests got heard by all, not ignored.

  8. St. Theresa of Avila says

    “Roanoke is now and always was the armpit of America. racist, ignorant, and homophobic.”

    Sadly, nowhere near to the truth. Roanoke might as well be NYC compared to some other similar sized cities in the south. There’s a reasonably large Jewish population. And, to put it bluntly, the people in that part of Virginia might be conservative but they aren’t as unambiguously consanguineous as in some other parts of the South.

  9. Mike says

    Come on Virginia, don’t you think it is time to move into the 21 Century and lose that ignorant, hillbilly, inbred, KKK reputation? Of course that goes for a lot of states and you know who you are.

  10. Icebloo says

    I was shocked and disappointed the first time this story was published on this website because so many, self hating, weak gays said the men should not take the case to court or should instead choose a different club. We would NEVER make any progress if we listened to these losers.

    I am so glad these two brave men fought this case and I wish them well. It’s because of brave people like this that we get ANY progress on anything. Shame on all you gays who didn’t support them.

    Now I would like to see the club fined a lot of money.

  11. kujhawker says

    @kyle who said ”
    their previous “stupid” behavior is what they truly believe and is only being changed for threat of a lawsuit. They are just as bigoted as before and deserve to be confronted with their bigotry just as much as before”

    So? This is how it was with civil rights. Congress passed laws businesses had to comply. Just because they now had to serve blacks at the same counter or let them sit at the front of the bus didn’t mean that they sudeenly became less biogted. It just meant the were being legally forced into tolerance (not acceptance).

    But that is a big step because you remove the barriers even if you dont remove the attitude you find that over time the attitude changes. With some they may never change but with others it changes, and with the next generation even better.

    So no they arent welcoming gays with open arms they are doing what is necessary to avoid a law suit. They aren’t pro gray, but have to accept gay families anyway. It is a step in the right direction and gets the foot in the door.

  12. Steven says

    This is a bit old news cycle but I wanted to add that years ago the San Diego Zoo changed its family membership to household membership. My husband and I didn’t get upset about the wording. I understand that also allowed multigenerational households to get a ‘family’ pass and non-married heterosexuals to do the same. What’s the difference it what it is called. This change allowed whole blocks of additional households in; because of this behaviour we’ve been donors to the zoo for years.
    As many pointed out, it doesn’t change their attitudes but it does force tolerance; most surveys have shown that “knowing out gays” changes attitudes about us more than any other method. As fellow members of the clube get to know the family there will be a subtle shift in thinking over time. I’ve been a long term advocate for “quiet diplomacy” and the “shock troops” as two arms of the changing of attitudes. Keep up the Dykes On Bykes and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgences but a pair of bears moving in next to my parents changed my Dad’s attitude more than anything else.

  13. Ricco says

    What bigots need is competition. If someone opened an all-inclusive, competitively priced athletic club, with a comparable or superior facility, you can be sure the Roanoke Athletic Club would change their attitude real fast.

    And @BJ a few days, and a reaction of self-preservation does not a past make. While I believe in not sweating the small stuff, there is nothing small about discrimination, and as long as gays are happy with barely being tolerated, of being tossed a raggedy old bone, then they cannot expect things to get better.

    You may be thrilled to be treated like a second class citizen, but if it were not for pissy gays, you would not even be getting the raggedy bones you seem so delighted with.

    Peace out!

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