By Pepper Fisher
PORT TOWNSEND – The report of a Port Townsend woman that was banned for life from the YMCA-run swimming pool after she ordered a transgender employee out of the woman’s changing room has gone nationwide.
80-year-old Julie Jaman told the Port Townsend City Council this month her version of what happened.
“My experience while showering after my swim with hearing a man’s voice in the women’s dressing area, and seeing a man in a woman’s swimsuit watching little girls pull down their bathing suits in order to use the toilets in the dressing room. I reacted by telling him to leave and the consequence is that I have been banned from the pool.”
After alerting a pool staff member to the situation, Jaman said she was “stunned” when the staffer told her that she was “being discriminatory,” “was banned from the pool forever,” and that they were calling the police.
Jaman says patrons were given no warning of the policy to allow transgender people into the women’s locker room. She says the facility, which is managed by the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, has no place for patrons to change in private if they are uncomfortable with the policy, despite telling the public last year that private quarters would be installed.
“The YMCA, the City, the Police and Sheriff’s, the parents, the professionals who assist victims of voyeurism, peeping Toms, pedophilia and assault, need to come together to figure out how to make the new policies work for all pool patrons, not just one group.”
The YMCA has a different version of the incident and explained their policies in a news release and emails to KONP.
Erin Hawkins, Marketing & Communications Manager for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, writes: “On July 26, one of our YMCA day camp staff members accompanied 2 girls to the restroom facilities in the women’s locker room in a supervision role. At the Y, we have a “rule of 3” where staff always accompany children in a group of 3 so a staff person is never alone with a child and children are never alone with each other. The Y staff member and one girl were standing outside the restroom stall while the other girl was using the restroom when Julie Jaman then expressed her concerns in a disrespectful manner toward the staff person, which violates the Y’s Code of Conduct. The Aquatics Manager informed Ms. Jaman that…she needed to leave the facility…Ms. Jaman refused to leave the facility at first and the police were called, she then left before the police could arrive.”
Hawkins says all staff receive a background check before they can work at the YMCA. She says the Y operates in accordance with state law that gives people the right to access the locker rooms, changing rooms, and bathrooms that aligns with their gender identity (per WAC 162-32-060).
She also says the pool does have a universal changing room, and that area has private stalls that close and lock for individuals to use if they’d like more privacy.