Trans woman forced to leave women’s locker room

Transphobia is alive and thriving people. From Olympia, Washington:

A transgender woman said she was discriminated against after using the women’s locker room at Evergreen State College. Colleen Francis was using the sauna in a women’s locker room inside the recreation center at the school late in September. The same facility is used by two high school girls swim teams from Olympia, who also practice in the pool.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne spoke with Francis about the incident in which a woman told her to leave.

“I looked at her and said, ‘Excuse me?’ And she said, ‘You have to leave, I’ll be right back,’” said Francis. “She wouldn’t identify herself. All she said was that there were a couple of girls that came upstairs to the pool, and said that there was a man in the sauna.

Francis, who acknowledges she was born a man, said she lived as a woman since 2009. Someone still called campus police, and local parents heard about the incident.

They’re uncomfortable with him being in there, her, being in there and are shocked by it,” said parent Kristi Holterman.

Holterman’s daughter was one of the swimmers and complained to Evergreen.

Officials at the school told KIRO 7 that they have been working with the Olympia School District, which leases space at the pool.

According to state law, it requires equal access to state facilities regardless of gender identity.

Local school officials said they came up with a temporary solution.

“There’s a smaller locker room next to the main locker room at the pool, and they (the swim teams) have been using that,” said Ryan Betz, a spokesman for the Olympia School District.

Francis believes the students need to be informed.

This is not 1959 Alabama. We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain,” said Francis.

A parent told KIRO 7 that she is more concerned that her daughter and teammates have a safe and comfortable place to swim.

Ugh, there’s so many things wrong with that story.

First: why did the reporter say Francis “acknowledged” she was born a man? It implies the woman was somehow trying to keep the gender she was born with a secret. I’m sure the story would not have suffered if the reporter had instead used the word “said.” The word “acknowledges” somehow implies this woman was somehow being deceptive by living as a trans woman.

The parent who was interviewed for this story has no idea how her reaction to that woman’s presence has planted the seed in her child’s mind that it’s okay to discriminate against transgender individuals. That woman’s reaction to Francis’ presence legitimizes bigotry and intolerance in the eyes of her child, thus laying the ground work for that young girl to become yet another individual who has no problem with discriminating against members of the GLBTQ community.

It frustrates me to see so many people who refuse to rise above the temptation to respond to differences in a bigoted fashion. It frustrates me because this type of cowardice tells children that trans men and women have no right to occupy the same public spaces that we cisgendered folks take for granted. That parent’s bigoted response to Francis’ presence ensures her daughter that she, being a cis, most likely straight girl, makes her superior and gives her the authority to actively discriminate against trans men and women.

And the cycle of hate continues.