HELP NEEDED: Our Rec Center has a “Male” in Shower Area with Girls

Lisa Cherry —  October 24, 2013

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By Lisa Cherry

The transgender bathroom debate landed in my lap in a way that has me extremely uncomfortable.

A few weeks ago, I received a troubling message from a fellow frontline mom friend of mine. It seems our local university rec center has made a major policy shift.  They had announced to the public in August that they were building transgender changing rooms to accommodate our very vocal LGBTQ population. But last week we found out there was more changes in the air.

A group of high school girls from the local swim team made a shocking discovery as they exited the showers one evening. A male was sharing their private space!

The swim team girls involved wasted no time in expressing to the university staff their feelings of embarrassment and violation. And the staff's initial response was one of concern. But that mood rapidly changed.

Come to find out this man had been given permission by the university to be in the shower area. He, as a frequent visitor to the rec center, claimed to be uncomfortable using the men's locker room since he does not personally believe he has a gender.  He says he is “exploring his gender.” Even though he clearly has male body parts, he prefers to wear makeup and dress like a woman. And even after the university provided a new transgender locker room and shower facility, he felt discriminated against by not being allowed to enter the women's locker room.

The parents complained about the incident and a meeting was called with the university staff.   The rec center personnel said that there was nothing they would be able to do about the situation. The parents would need to "recognize the change in the times" and make the adjustment. And if they did not like the policy, the university would refund their rec center fee if the children quit the team.

My friend who told me the story knew I too would be concerned. Not only have I written the book Unmask the Predators, I have young athletes who use the building also.

This event has shaken me. For honestly, I do not know what we can now do!

The university claims there is a new federal law that makes this gender queer/questioning within this man’s legal rights. They say a new regulation went into effect in July of this year. 

I am no legal expert, but from what I have found, this is not a new law, but a new interpretation of  older laws.  Laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex are now being interpreted as also protecting “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”   Please see the following links:

United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations

Know Your Rights - Transgender People and the Law

INTERIM GUIDANCE REGARDING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS, PRIVACY, AND FACILITIES

Federal Officials Protect Transgender Student Against Discrimination

When my son Lucas competed in the athletic department of this same university, he was advised in his required Diversity in Sports class that he could compete as a woman! ....if he had a sex change and two years of hormone therapy!  So I know this belief system has permeated deeply within our university and even into our community.

Tomorrow we're going to talk about seven reasons why it's hard to figure out what to do.

Image source: Jenni C “Empty Locker Room 2” Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)