New changing room rules a safety concern | Letter to the Editor

The YMCA and more recently the Target Corporation have announced their locker rooms, dressing rooms and restrooms will now be gender neutral to accommodate transgender individuals. I am firmly for tolerance and inclusivity, but this approach creates a loophole for predators. A man does not have to be dressed as a female, but simply "identify" as female to have unquestioned access to the locker room or bathroom of his choice.

The YMCA and more recently the Target Corporation have announced their locker rooms, dressing rooms and restrooms will now be gender neutral to accommodate transgender individuals. I am firmly for tolerance and inclusivity, but this approach creates a loophole for predators. A man does not have to be dressed as a female, but simply “identify” as female to have unquestioned access to the locker room or bathroom of his choice.

The Kroger Company, who own and operate Fred Meyer, took a different approach and garnered wide spread praise for balancing safety and privacy concerns with equal rights when they posted a gender neutral sign on a large, family size restroom with the words,

We have a unisex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations. And since we have a lot of friends coming to see us, we want provide a place for our friends who are:

– Dads with daughters

– Moms with sons

– Parents with disabled children

– Those in the LGBTQ community

– Adults with aging parents who may be mentally or physically disabled

Thank you for helping us to provide a safe environment for everyone.

The option of a third, unisex, family size, type of room seems like a reasonable way to accommodate all who use these facilities.

As a parent of two young daughters, I have to look to the future. If the YMCA now has open locker rooms will this eventually be the norm in schools, gyms and swimming pools as well? While some argue the predator risk may not be great, it does exist. Last fall, The University of Toronto had to end their co-ed washroom program in the residence halls after two separate instances of male students using cell phones to record videos of female students showering. The all-or-nothing approach Target and the YMCA have taken backs me into a corner as a parent, forcing me to choose between political correctness and the safety of my children. In this case, I am glad to exercise my power as a consumer. I have already let Target know that I will not be shopping there until their policy is modified due to safety concerns.

Anna Burt,

Enumclaw

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