A mother in British Columbia has spoken out about a disturbing incident allegedly involving a trans-identified male in a female changing room at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre last Friday.
Janayh Wright told Chek News that she was in the women’s changing rooms with her nine-year-old daughter when she saw a male wearing a wig and a face mask acting suspiciously. She said the individual had no bag, towel, or swimsuit and was looking around in the showers. The person then went into the stall next to the one her daughter was in.
"I could see their feet moving, so you could see the bottom of the stall, then I saw the wig peer down and they were trying to peek underneath the stall," Wright told Chek News.
"When the individual came out of the room still fully clothed I then approached them. They told me it was in their human rights to be in the changeroom and that they weren’t going to leave. There were a few words exchanged and I ushered them out the door."
Wright reported this to a manager and was told that while the behavior was unacceptable, it was indeed the trans-identified male’s human right to be in the female changing room. Wright was disappointed with how her serious complaint was handled. She then reported the incident to the police.
"This has to do with a safety issue with children. This is in no way an attack against the LGBTQ community. This doesn’t have anything to do with that at all," said Wright at a protest outside the centre on Feb 5.
According to Chek News, the City of Nanaimo has been in contact with local police and stated that there have been two reported incidents of a transgender individual in the women’s changing rooms at the centre in the past week.
The city confirmed that people are allowed access to washrooms and change rooms that correspond to their gender identity, according to the Human Rights Code and Human Rights Act.
The Nanaimo Pride Society acknowledged the possibility that male sex offenders could be using the transgender loophole as a way to access women and girls in a vulnerable state of undress.
"We simply can't know right now whether this alleged offender is trans in the early stages of transition, or a cisgender man looking for loopholes, or a bad actor using common fears as a lightning rod to create an anti trans mob," said the group in a statement on Facebook.
"In no uncertain terms, Nanaimo Pride Society condemns malicious, predatory behavior, no matter who the perpetrator is. Gender identity is not and should not be an excuse to cause harm to anyone."
Wright stressed that she is not urging people to target the transgender community, but rather that she just wants people to be aware of what happened in case anyone finds themselves in a similar situation in a changing area.
This latest story comes on the back of a wave of similar incidents involving trans-identified males behaving inappropriately in female-only spaces. Last month, a trans-identified male in Ohio was charged with indecent exposure for walking around naked in a YMCA changing room where young girls were present.
Also last month in Saskatoon a group of angry residents took to the street to protest a trans-identified male allegedly parading around naked in a female changing room at the local pool while children’s swimming lessons were taking place.
Last year, a serial sex offender who identified as female made headlines at a spa in Los Angeles after allegedly exposing male genitals to a little girl and several women.
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