Trans Woman In College Locker Room Sparks Title IX Debate

Hey, in case you've forgotten in the midst of the unification of Sandy relief that there are some arguments you really can't take a side on, here's the latest in Catch 22s!

Evergreen State College's non-discrimination policy is being put to the test now that the mother of a 17-year-old girl using the Evergreen swimming facilities filed an incident report about 45-year-old transgender woman named Colleen Francis, who walked nude around the locker room. Francis was confronted by a female swim coach who later apologized when Francis told her she was transgender, but maintained that her (biologically male) presence might make the girls-as young as six-uncomfortable.

Image for article titled Trans Woman In College Locker Room Sparks Title IX Debate
Image for article titled Trans Woman In College Locker Room Sparks Title IX Debate

Francis, who, after 20 years serving in the army, wears a low-dose estrogen patch, plans not to undergo sex reassignment surgery and says she prefers women, is outraged: "This is not 1959 Alabama. We don't call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain."

But for the time being, Evergreen's temporary solution does sort of resemble that: after parents refused to allow their minor daughters to change in front of Francis, the girls' sports teams were placed in a smaller ancillary locker room space to change and Francis was given the run of the main locker room-which is where Title IX comes in, say some: the old discussion of "male privilege" shuttling female athletics by the wayside.


Are both sides of the situation unfair? Absolutely. To make it worse, this is one of those situations that fundamentalists and right-wingers like to turn political; hell, even the blog coverage feels skewed towards anti-trans. Just look at the headlines.

The parents have retained lawyers from the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, who throw all kinds of disrespectful terms around in their letter to the head of student affairs at Evergreen (the transgendered Francis becomes a "dangerous," voyeuristic "naked man," etc.).


David Hacker, senior legal counsel at the Alliance, had this to say:

The idea that the college and the local district attorney will not act to protect young girls is appalling… What Americans are seeing here is the poisoned fruit of so-called ‘non-discrimination' laws and policies."


The website Gender Trender also attacks Francis personally by posting her various dating profiles and sexual predilections.

-Anna Breslaw

‘WA state college allows transgender man to expose himself to young girls' [The Right Scoop]
‘Olympia WA School Officials: State Gender Identity provision overrides Title IX Equality for Girls Swim Teams' [Gender Trender]


Marx and Sparks

Everything else aside, I am so weirded out by the number of people who are pearl-clutching re: people being naked in locker rooms. It's a locker room! Its purpose is quite literally to be a place for people to be in various states of undress as they go from one activity to another.

What the hell is wrong with our culture that we are horrified by the naked body unless it's photoshopped to within an inch of its life?!