A man entered a women’s locker room at a Seattle, Washington public pool and started undressing. After he removed his shirt, women who were in the locker room reported the man to authorities who asked him to leave. He replied, “The law has changed, and I have a right to be here.” He was referring to a new state law that allows a person to use the restroom or locker room based on his (or her) gender identity.
The man reportedly did not ever specify his gender identify as a woman or transgender. No arrests were made as the police were never called. The man even returned to the locker room when there were young girls changing for swim practice.
This is apparently a new issue for Seattle Parks and Recreation who are still working on a policy solution. KING 5 reported:
It was a busy time at Evans Pool around 5:30pm Monday February 8. The pool was open for lap swim. According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, a man wearing board shorts entered the women’s locker room and took off his shirt. Women alerted staff, who told the man to leave, but he said “the law has changed and I have a right to be here.”
“Really bizarre,” MaryAnne Sato said. “I can’t imagine why they would want to do that anyway!”
Sato uses the locker room a few times a week, but she says this is a first for her. It’s also a first for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Employees report that the man made no verbal or physical attempt to identify as a woman, yet he still cited a new rule that allows bathroom choice based on gender identification.
The issue drew protesters from both sides to Olympia on Monday. Opponents claim the rule opens up bathrooms to voyeurs but supporters say that’s an unrealistic fear.
If the man had “identified” as a woman, then if authorities had asked him to leave, they could be charged with discrimination. Supporters say that it’s an “unrealistic fear” to think that the rule opens up bathrooms and locker rooms to predators, but all that predator would have to do is claim to be transgender or “identify” as a woman.
In fact, the person wouldn’t have to identify as anything. The fact that people might question why he was using the women’s facilities would also be grounds for discrimination. He shouldn’t have to specify his gender identity – he might argue – just like other women and men don’t openly identify their gender before entering their respective restrooms or locker rooms. Why should transgender people be treated any differently?
Opponents’ concerns about predators are of course not farfetched at all. Why would a sexual predator not take advantage of such a rule? He could spy on women and girls, and there’d be nothing anyone could do about it. If they tried, he could sue for discrimination, and he’d probably win.