Educate Advocate Celebrate

Community Update on YMCA’s New Policy on Locker Room Use

For Immediate Release
October 8, 2015

(Tacoma, WA) Oasis and Rainbow Center want to update the community about the YMCA’s new policy on locker room use. On Monday, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties issued a policy about restroom and locker room facilities that specifically targets transgender members. Our community should know about YMCA’s new policy, which our organizations oppose. We are actively working with community leaders to offer education, encourage dialogue, and unequivocally say that we do not support the YMCA’s current policy.

All people deserve the right to move freely through the world: attending school, going to work, and participating in recreational activities. Our non-discrimination laws at the state and local level acknowledge this fact, but the YMCA’s policy is in direct opposition to their own messages of inclusion and respect.

The YMCA’s policy is not about transgender individuals. It is about unfounded fears and the dangerous myth that transgender men and women are dangerous to children. These stereotypes are uninformed and hateful. The YMCA’s policy is dangerous, misleading, and not in compliance with state and local non-discrimination laws.

The YMCA should have a separate and unrelated policy on child abuse prevention. As a crime victim service centers, Oasis and Rainbow Center know all too well the impact of violence on our community. We already know that transgender people experience alarming rates of violence and discrimination. Policies like this exclude and ostracize transgender people, singling them out for additional targeting.

We all have a stake in making sure that our YMCA has an inclusive policy consistent with state and local laws and our community values. There are many options and models that if adopted, would maintain privacy standards while meeting the intent and spirit of the law.

Oasis Youth Center was founded in 1985 and creates a safe place for queer youth ages 11-24 to learn, connect and grow. Rainbow Center was established in 1997 and expands resources and safe space for the LGBTQA community through education, advocacy, and celebration. Both organizations are part of the Pierce County Crime Victim Service Center and offer specialized support to victims and survivors of sexual and physical assault, hate crimes, attempted homicide, and other violent crimes. For more information, visit www.oasisyouthcenter.org and www.rainbowcntr.org.

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The YMCA’s policy can be found at: https://www.ymcapkc.org/newsroom/?id=129

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