Parents try to get trans woman booted from college pool locker room

Trans woman Colleen Francis (Photo: KIRO-TV)

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A Washington state law prevents Evergreen State College of Olympia, Wash., from denying trans people like Colleen Francis from equal access to state facilities, so a school district using the college pool for their swim teams decided to use a different dressing room elsewhere on the campus to appease parents who were in an uproar about a ‘man in the women’s locker room.’

A parent told a  Seattle television station of her concern that ‘her daughter and teammates have a safe and comfortable place to swim.’

Rather than educate parents and their kids about equality and their fallacy based concerns, the Olympia School District did an end run around the state law — a “temporary solution” they say, but in actuality, a final ugly slap in the face to a trans person the law is designed to protect.

Colleen Francis said she felt discriminated against when an apparent parent approached her in the locker room and told her she had to leave.

Parent Kristi Holterman: “They’re (the swim team kids) uncomfortable with him being in there, her, being in there and are shocked by it.”

The Evergreen State College ought to ban the school district until they are willing to use the pool facilities like everyone else. As for the Olympia School District: Supt. Dick Cvitanichl — what is it going to be? A teachable moment or hiding the kids?

Transgender woman told to leave women’s locker room |

Olympia School Dist. Supt. Dick Cvitanichl — what is it going to be? A teachable moment or hiding the kids?


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Everything else, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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32 replies

  1. I found this posted in Reddit:

    erkokite 2 points 2 hours ago

    Sorry, but if someone makes everyone else uncomfortable by using a common resource (i.e. the locker room), then said person needs to be respectful and find an alternate means of changing. Would I, as a trans woman, change elsewhere, if I knew the people around me were made uncomfortable by sharing a changing area with them? Absolutely. How hard is it for me to change in my car, or at home, or in a gender neutral/handicap/family bathroom? Not terribly.

    The same concept can be applied to many things- users of common resources should be respectful of the needs and rights of other users of said resources.

    Also, as unfortunate as it may be, it might be a little easier if the trans woman in question passed a bit better. Many people have an image of a creepy CD in their 40’s trying to get into womens’ spaces when they think of TG peoples (true or not). Even within the TG community, many of us resent certain older transitioners who come off as creepy, misogynistic, and sometimes even predatory. This is why so many “support groups” end up with a bad rap among younger TG people.

    I am a total bitch, I know. Sorry.

    • as an elder trans woman (55) I find it offensive that because of your homophobic thoughts the younger adults were put into a model of intolerance. Instead of just discussing it, like adults do at some times and educating the younger crowd this would have been un-necessary. As a parent of 7 now adult children, I find the end run the school district took was out of line, and agree they should be banned until they adopt a law abiding stance is society. . I never let my presentation and how it is seen by the public get in the way of just being myself. When I go out to a mall, it is not my place to fit into others concepts of presentation, I do it because of how I feel about myself when presenting on the outside how I feel in the inside. I have waited 50+ years in hiding and full of guilt and regret over my life. There is no way I will ever be suppressed in life again. Thank you for your input @erokite, I just don’t agree with it, because if you were trans you would never have posted it in the first place.

    • Interesting point that you make here. I often am concerned with the possibility of making others uncomfortable and I have found situations where I have demurred in favor of such ignorance. But it absolutely has to be a teachable moment. “What if she were black?” seems like an easy thing to say, but what about Jewish? I suppose they could have let the lighter blacks in while making the darker ones use the other facilities. Or any thing else. I really do think we should help people understand, and we should always be considerate. The Tranny fest outside the Michigan Lesbian Festival is just silly, but we can’t abandon our lives. If the older transitioners are to be hidden away, what about the “ugly younger transitioners?” I’m sure you’re not a total bitch. I’m sure she would love to pass as well as you.

      Jeanie Wallenstein

    • No need to apologize for being a bits, just cut it out. If you are uncomfortable, well ,it’s just you’re crummy feelings & I will tell you to get over yourself & welcome to the real world. Many things make me uncomfortable, but my comfort is only my responsibility & no one else’s. The trans woman in question was in fact, like most all of us, minding her own business neil one of the children made a stink about someone minding her own business. If you are afriad of something, you either choose to walk thru the fear & get over it, or you stay your butt at home. Sorry to be a bitch about this, or not!

    • The author should really do some more research on the “woman” they are defending. [Additional transphobic comments deleted by moderator as well as the link.]

      • Kelly, if you’re going to post an opinion, you’ll have to do it without making transphobic comments, nor can you DEMAND a link be read. Make your case and if it’s persuasive enough, readers can decide to check it on their own.

        I looked at the link and the bulk of the argument seems to be second guessing whether or not the person is transgender. Not their decision to make. The other thing, left out is the fact that the trans woman is a student at the college, the girls high school team is just renting the pool. The title IV argument is pure nonsense.

  2. I’m just another one of those bitches. Regardless the fact that I am post op, for the past 12 years, out for 27, women, natural genetic women, have been taught to fear the predatory man. And who can blame them? I’m out about who and what I am and if anyone in a sensitive situation feels uncomfortable around me, I’m happy to do the best I can to accommodate them. If that means changing and showering, then that means finding a different way to accomplish that for yourself. That’s called being resourceful and respectful. It takes people time to come around. So it’s important for us as a transgendered community to not shove our faces into those that we want to be around. We have to want them to bring us into their circle. And not all will. We can’t make them and I don’t even want to try. Simply because… YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID.

    I’m not sorry for being a bitch. Somebody has to do it.

    • The problem with these parents is that they probably don’t care if there’s a law, and I’m betting they don’t give a rats ass anyway… They Breed and they VOTE! ALL GLBT must stand up for their legal and moral rights in all areas of normal life.

  3. As a parent of swimmer on one of the HS teams mentioned in this article, I’d like to clarify something. The majority of the swimmers do not have a problem sharing the locker room with Ms. Francis. However, even open-minded individuals can understand how some people may feel uncomfortable when an individual with male genitalia walks around the women’s locker room and sits in the sauna completely nude. Mutual respect on both sides is what is called for here.

  4. Its sad that when the school was faced with a concern as this that they simply didn’t follow the rule of law, and provide support for all parties involved along with education. I would have refused to leave and pushed the issue but thats just me.

  5. I hate these assholes droppin their discriminating hypocrate bullshit-sentencences like “They’re (the swim team kids) uncomfortable with him being in there, her, being in there (…)”

    everyone accepting ppl talking like that, included the state are not a bit better than that sexistic disgusting reality taking our lifes day by day.

    [Comment deleted by moderator. All comments are welcome, even venting, but let’s not encourage violence please!]

  6. This whole thing is ridiculous. Americans just need to stop being so shameful of the human body and quit being so dramatic. I’m not sure why a naked human body would cause such an uproar. Was this person hurting anyone? No. Was this person harassing anyone? No

    I think what makes people uncomfortable is their own insecurities..get over it people and quit being so damn dramatic. Maybe they need to look into themselves and figuere out why this is triggering them so much and then learn and grow.

  7. One of the things left unmentioned in the article is that Ms. Francis is a student at Evergreen, and as such, has been using the women’s facilities there for some time.

    The swim teams, while welcome guests, are exactly that: guests. And as such, the obligation is on *them* to abide by the rules and customs of their hosts, NOT demand that the hosts change in order to accommodate them and their prejudices.

    Welcoming and respecting diversity *can* be an uncomfortable process, and it’s one that even a lot of adults have not mastered. If the girls on the swim team (or their parents) are not at a place where they feel comfortable welcoming and respecting diversity to the extent that Evergreen College does, they should, perhaps, look for another place to practice that will not be so challenging.

  8. Thanks for contributing everyone! 🙂

  9. Damiana is correct that the swim teams are guests, albeit paying guests who rent the facility from the university. As such, it is appropriate that the HS swimmers are the ones making the accommodation by using alternate changing facilities. Many of the swimmers would prefer to use the main locker room and believe that a more appropriate resolution would be for the swimmers who are uncomfortable sharing the locker room with Ms. Francis should use the nearby “family” rest rooms. However, the school administrators have required all swimmers to use the family rest room. Several of the HS swimmers have been meeting with HS administration to change that decision.

    As for the culture of shamefulness about nudity and the comment: “I’m not sure why a naked human body would cause such an uproar,” like it or not, I don’t think we have evolved as a community to the point where we feel that gender-neutral locker rooms are appropriate. This is an interesting question. What is the purpose of gender-segregated locker rooms? It seems like the real issue here is that Ms. Francis has a penis? The gender-segregated locker rooms have nothing to do with sexual preference. (I have no idea what Ms. Francis’ sexual preference is, nor do I think it is relevant. No one is questioning the appropriateness of lesbians changing in the women’s locker room. No one is suggesting that gay men should change in the women’s locker room). The purpose of gender-segregated locker rooms is apparently to eliminate the possibility that women see men naked and vice versa. (I recognize that there may be dozens of inappropriate assumptions on my part in this paragraph. I am really just trying to wrap my head around this issue.) Please weigh in. I’d like to know how others view the appropriateness of gender-segregated facilities.

    • There’s provably more to this story that is being led on here. Based on Miranda’s reply below, I can’t imagine that Ms. Francis was parading around naked in plain view of other women if she hasn’t yet had bottom surgery. I can’t imagine any trans person would do that. Perhaps she used the facilities, including the sauna, but with a towel. Try to imagine how uncomfortable she would feel in that situation! There’s no way. And I know because I’m a trans woman and I haven’t had surgery. I use women’s restrooms (cause how could I not), but I would NEVER put myself in this kind of precarious situation and I’m sure that Ms. Francis did not. This sounds more like a witch hunt by parents who are now aware of Ms. Francis’s current genetelia, which is very unfortunate and an invasion of her privacy, and are very insecure about it.

      You know, we don’t expect that everyone wants to understand why we are transgender or what it really means. But we do expect and deserve equal rights, as long as we act appropriately, which I think Ms. Francis likely did. We’re not sexual deviants or mentally disturbed. Our brains just don’t match up with our bodies. It’s a pre-natal physiological issue. Ms. Francis is a woman in need of some “cosmetic improvements” and she just wants to be who she really is. Now you’ve demonized her, humiliated her and ensured that she will never have a normal high school experience at that school. Let’s think for a moment about how this affects her and be more sensitive and understanding. If she was crass enough to parade around naked in the girls locker room showing her genetelia, then she’s brought this upon herself. But I find that very, very hard to believe.

  10. Because of the trans-misogyny and transgender & transexual bashing that some people practice when discussing this issue — and because bigotry spawns mythologies that generates hysteria about a particular group (e.g. Mcarthyism, post-Civil War era myth of the black male rapist, early 20th century myth of the “aggressive” black lesbian who seduces “temporary” white lesbian, etc) —

    I refuse to believe that the transwoman in question, Ms. Coleen Francis, deliberately exposed her genitals to members of the high school female swim team.

    Can anyone verify or debunk the assertion that Ms. Francis exposed her genitals to swim team members while she (Francis) was in the sauna? Or, anywhere else in the women’s locker room?

    I suspect that the minority of swim team members who are “uncomfortable” with Ms. Francis’ use of the women’s locker room feel that way, in part, because they *assume* (& fear) that Ms. Francis has a penis. (And they are disgusted by her nonconformist body).

    Because Ms. Francis was assigned male at birth, and her anatomy may include a penis, some of the swim team members & their mothers feel anxious about this — their anti-transgender & anti-transexual prejudice (or cisgenderism) leads them to stereotype, assume, fear, condemn, pathologize and rights abuse Ms. Francis.

    That said, I believe that any woman identified person, cis or trans, ought to have the right to navigate “women’s” spaces without being harassed. And if the space permits nudity then that transwoman is entitled to navigate the space nude, if she wishes.

    If cisgender folks (or any folk) has a problem with that then they have the right and freedom to NOT use the trans-inclusive space. Period.

  11. Anyone who refers to a transwoman as a “man” or a “woman with a penis” or a “lady with a dick” or the like canNOT legitimately claim that they are devoted to social justice.

    Any feminist-identified person who uses these terms AND advocates for the exclusion of transgender & transexual people from “women’s” spaces undermines feminist goals, which are liberatory, and meant to promote and achieve gender equality — equal rights and choices among the sexes and people of all genders.

    Any lesbian-identified person who uses these terms AND advocates for the exclusion of transgender & transexual people from “women’s” spaces produces and reifies the same discriminatory/oppressive myopic patriarchal/white male supremacist rhetoric mobilized in opposition to lesbian rights — to non-transgender women’s right to identify as woman, and in this way, her right to exist.

    The aforementioned words and statements, and all trans-misogynist discourse, constitutes hate speech, bashing, bullying and fosters a cultural climate in which no woman or girl is safe, and especially transgender women and girls are vulnerable to violence — including rape, torture, body mutilation, and murder.

    In short, people who transgender and transexual people, especially transwomen — people who deny that “trans” and “transgender” exist — people that refuse to respect people’s right to self-identify as they wish, and identify themselves using particular pronouns are people who are NOT helping.

    All Daly, Steinem, et. al, anti-transgender, anti-transexual discourse loving people have a right to their beliefs — but make no mistake, those beliefs are vile, hurtful to women, they promote rape, and they get human beings killed.

  12. I was Ms. Francis’s housemate for several months. I can say with certainty that Colleen would never purposely make someone uncomfortable. I lived in a house with her and shared a bathroom and never saw her nude. She is a sweet, giving person that would never harm anyone. It saddens me deeply that she would be dragged into this controversy and the configuration of her genitalia would be discussed publicly. I’m sure she was just trying to live her life as the woman she is. To ridicule such a beautiful person that has suffered so much because of society’s narrow mindedness is to just add insult to injury. Don’t want to see her nude body? Then don’t gawk at her when she is enjoying the facilities that she paid for with her tuition.

  13. It really doesn’t matter what she identifies as now. She was born a man. This article fails to state whether or not she has had the surgery yet. But I still feel it is inappropriate to having someone who was born as a man in a locker room with underage women in it. This was a high school swimming team.

    • What the hell does that even matter?
      Why not ban lesbians too while you’re at it… Bisexual women as well, anyone who makes these little ladies “uncomfortable”!

      Whether you like it or not, we are STILL WOMEN! And yes, we were BORN WOMEN! Do not punish us for a birth defect!

      If people would just GET OVER IT already, the world would be a much better place…

      The sad thing, is that almost 100% of all this controversy is over “men” in the women’s (restrooms mostly, but w/e). Why does no one ever seem to complain about the opposite?!? I’ll admit, I’m still kinda new to this myself, being openly transgendered for only 2 1/2 years, but even I am starting to wonder. What happens if a woman gets tired of waiting, or just BADLY needs to pee, the line is STILL long for the women’s, and *shock* there’s no line at the “men’s” room. What happens then?

      Additionally, there are STALLS in restrooms, why not here as well. Why the hell can’t there just be ONE BIG AREA for EVERYONE? And if you feel the need for privacy, just use a stall, and everything’s fine! The whole “we don’t want to see a penis” bullcrap falls flat, cause guess what, MOST people have seen their parents in some state of undress (or worse) at least ONCE in their lives, so get over it!

      Wouldn’t unisex facilities solve EVERYTHING?

      And now on to the “invaders” argument… Seriously, you think a predator is REALLY going to care? Or worse, DRAW ATTENTION TO HIMSELF! They are all about STEALTH, they DON’T WANT ATTENTION! And really, with unisex facilities, there will be MORE people in there, able to “stop the shenanigans.” Yes, people will gawk and stare at the start, but eventually, it will be NO BIG DEAL! Lets face it, oversexualization of certain body parts has NEVER done any good for society, so lets start taking steps to end that…

      GROW UP! STOP BEING AFRAID! Its called homo/trans-phobia for a REASON!

      Phobia – An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. (Key word is IRRATIONAL!)

      • So just because I feel that it is inappropriate to have a man changing around underage girls all of a sudden I am homophobic? I don’t see how that is irrational. People like you are why people don’t like the gay community. I calmly stated my viewpoint and you just had to come in here and start with the angry speeches and hate words. You don’t even know me. This “homophobe” that you are speaking to is an avid gay rights activist. I have an HRC sticker on my car right next to my OIF veteran sticker. I was a member of the Gay Straight Alliance for my last three years of college. I was a bouncer at a gay nightclub for my last two years of college. I helped organize Lubbock’s very first pride day two years ago. I wrote my senior thesis on why gay marriage should be legalized.

        I made a calm statement about my personal feeling on the subject. You came in and started throwing your hate speech around. You don’t even know me. You are no better than those “christians” who throw around hateful words to our gay community just because they don’t agree with something they do.

        From my experience being around the gay and trans community I feel like you guys are much nicer and better friends than my straight friends. The gay agenda is one of peace and love and understanding. You are preaching anger to everyone who doesn’t agree with you. You need to grow up.

        • Mr. Zimmerebner,

          you said: “a man changing around underage girls”.

          This makes you transphobic, not homophobic.

        • Joel. Hi. My name is Jeanie. I’m 55 years old. You should read something or maybe just talk to a trans person or two. You obviously have strong feelings and from what you have said, it seems like you are not understanding transgenderism. I’m sorry to start with a negative, but bashing is not productive and you are kind and interested enough to get into this discussion. You see we’re talking about a woman being accused of being a man because she has a birth defect. It really is that simple. She isn’t gay and this is not an issue of sexual orientation. If it was then the discussion would not be very different but would not be about using the bathroom. Transgenderism is a situation where you are born with the wrong set of genitals. Then society (the medical profession) labels you with the gender markers of you genital identity. You got balls, you’re a man. You got a pussy, you’re a woman.

          We’re complicated. That’s why some people are born with sickle cell anemia and some are born with diabetes and some are born with red hair. We’re so comlicated that it’s a miracle that more things don’t go wrong. It’s a system that could only be made over millions of years. Ahem.

          So some people are born with the wrong hormone makeup and wrong genitals. This is complicated too. We’re still figuring it out. The main point is that some people know that they are women even though they don’t have a pussy and vice versa.

          This is the struggle we are up against. Kinda like being black only we’re all killed or maimed instead of enslaved and denegrated. Perhaps more like being Jewish.

          You see? Think about it and learn more. We’re here to answer questions.

          • Thank you very much for being the first person to reply to me in a sensible way. While I was a bouncer I did have a few trans friends. All were pre op though. Apparently it’s a very expensive surgery, but I’m sure you know this lol. When I was writing my paper I did a lot of research in order to understand both sides of the gay marriage issue. I never said I was against trans rights. You have to look at this from a parent’s point of view. You have someone that was born with a penis that is in a locker room full of underage girls. That is enough to make any parent nervous. What’s to stop any pervert from just wearing a dress and claiming to be trans in order to peep on underage girls? I really wish this article went into more detail. If this woman was post op then I have no problem with her being in the locker room. But as long as she has a penis than she should be in the men’s room. Do you understand where I am coming from on this?

            • Joel, What’s to stop a pervert from entering a boy’s restroom? A pervert from entering you child’s school? A pervert from entering your home and molesting your child (most molesters are family members)?

              Transgender does not equate to perverts, ever. Until you stop using that fallacy, your comments here or elsewhere are invalid and are to be ignored.

  14. [Hate comments deleted. Please remember, posting hate comments says more about YOU than anything else.]

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