A YMCA in Southern California’s Santee saw intense protests on Wednesday night when a large group arrived in objection to the organization’s locker room policies.
Many YMCAs across the country — including the one in Santee — have in recent years begun allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match the gender they identify with, and California law requires that “all business establishments” offer “full and equal accommodations” to everyone — including trans people — regardless of their sex.
The protests broke out after a 17-year-old girl publicly told the Santee City Council last week that she allegedly saw a transgender woman with male genitalia using the women’s locker room. The 17-year-old, who introduced herself as Rebecca Phillips at the Jan. 11 meeting, said she went to the locker room after swimming laps and then hid in a shower after seeing “a naked male” in the locker room. A KSWB-TV report said the trans woman disputed Rebecca’s characterization of events, telling the outlet that she completed her transition in 2016 and no longer had male genitalia. She said she had been going to the YMCA in Santee for a year without incident.
The story quickly blew up online, and just a few days later, Phillips was interviewed by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his eponymous evening show. Many other conservative and right-leaning media outlets picked up the story as well.
Video of the Wednesday demonstration shows clashes between protesters and counter-protesters, with some members of the latter group carrying rainbow flags in support of the trans woman. The groups at times engaged in brief scuffles as the two sides met outside the YMCA. A man was sprayed in the face with what appeared to be mace, a woman was hit in the back of the head with a flashlight someone threw at her, and one person said, “We’re gonna fight,” before trying to engage another person in a one-on-one fist fight. The two sides also hurled insults such as “pedophile” and “Nazi scum….”
Full story at sfgate.