There is an interesting case out of Olympia, Washington where a transgender person is alleging discrimination after being asked to leave the women’s locker room due to his exposing himself to young girls. In a case that is likely to become more common with the expanded rights for transgender individuals, the question is whether schools should bar such exposure in areas with young children or teens.
The incident occurred at Evergreen State College where a 45-year-old male student, who dresses as a woman and goes by the name Colleen Francis, was naked in the women’s locker room. Young girls use the facility from the nearby Olympia High School and a local swimming club. The mother of a 17-year-old girl complained about Francis walking around naked with his genitals exposed and a female swim coach confronted him as he lay sprawled out and exposed in a sauna used by the girls. She asked him to leave and called police. However, she later apologized when she discovered that he was a transgender person. The local district attorney also declined criminal charges because he felt the “criminal law is very vague in this area.”
Francis is alleging discrimination and complained that “[t]his is not 1959 Alabama . . We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”
I am not convinced by the analogy, however. While I agree with the prosecutor’s view of the murky legal standard, it seems that the college and city would have a legitimate interest in barring such exposure to young girls in such shared areas. Obviously the best solution is a separate locker room but that might impose high financial and logistical challenges. If someone is still anatomically male, it presents a legitimate concern for parents. While this is a college, it is common for such facilities to be shared with local schools.
What do you think?