City of Maple Ridge staff are creating a policy on the use of swimming pool change rooms by transgendered people following a complaint last week from a mother who complained about a naked person with male genitalia in the women’s change room at the Leisure Centre.
The woman was taking her daughter to swim lessons and doesn’t think children should be exposed to genitalia of the opposite sex in public change rooms.
But pool staff told her the naked person in question identified as female.
According to Coun. Kiersten Duncan, a lifeguard, current practice says that anybody who self-identifies as a particular gender can use facilities for that gender.
“Everyone has the right to choose their own gender and how they choose to identify. They determine their gender.”
Trans Rights B.C. said that trans-gender people have the same rights to access any service as anyone else, including access to washrooms and change rooms that correspond to the felt gender identity.
Pool staff did suggest to the person using the private, family change rooms. But there’s still no answer on to how deal with a man who may have ulterior motives for going into the women’s change room.
“I could see that would be a concern,” said Danielle Pope, with the recreation department.
Vancouver lawyer barbara findlay, who has 30 years experience in the area of gender rights, has never heard of a circumstance where a cis-gender (non-transgender) man who identifies as a woman, goes into a change room for the latter gender.
“It just doesn’t happen,” she said.
However, she added, people are entitled to access public facilities based on their gender identity. That’s been the law for many years, she added.
And last year, the provincial government added gender identity as protected under the B.C. Human Rights Code.
But how is anyone to know?
Public schools in Maple Ridge already have gender-neutral washrooms.
Public facilities such as pools should provide change rooms for the same.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News