Many of you have likely now heard about an incident that occurred at the Olympic Peninsula YMCA in late July in which a transgender Y staff member was harassed by a community member. We’d like to take a moment of your time to reaffirm the Skagit Y’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.
To be clear, the Skagit Y is here for everyone. Our mission is to create positive community change through relationships by empowering the mind, body, and spirit of ALL. We are a safe haven for children. We are a safe and accepting place for our LGBTQ+ community. We welcome people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. We welcome people from across the spectrum of religious and philosophical persuasions as members of our Y. This is made possible by living our core values: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. When we honestly care for and treat each other with respect, when we approach each other with curiosity and seek to understand one another, we are building a beautiful and beloved community.
Our locker rooms here at the Skagit Y provide safe options for people of all genders and family compositions, which is why we have options for men, women AND a family and gender-neutral locker room with more private spaces. Women living as women may use the women’s locker room, and men living as man may use the men’s locker room. The individual spaces in the family and gender-neutral locker room are also available as appropriate to your individual needs and concerns.
All members and staff agree to a Code of Conduct that asks all to “exhibit behavior that follows our values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.” This high expectation of staff, members and community conduct is true today and every day at the Skagit Y. Every member of our community has a right to privacy and protection from harassment.
Here are the other ways we ensure safety in our spaces:
- Automatic daily sex offender background checks on all registered staff, members, and community members in our membership database.
- 2 or more staff on duty across all programs to ensure safe supervision of youth.
Additionally, our Leadership Team at the Skagit Y felt it was important to call out several misconceptions that may be influencing the questions our teams are being asked about this incident:
- Transgender-inclusive policies are not a safety risk – transgender people are NOT more likely than any others to cause harm and there is zero evidence to assert otherwise even after hundreds of businesses, cities, and states have been enacting trans-inclusive policies for many years now.
- Transgender people are over 4x more likely to be the victims of violent crimes. Anti-trans violence has also reached record highs in recent years.
- The Skagit Y’s Code of Conduct recognizes that gender identity, unlike sex assigned at birth, is a self-identified personal experience. In accordance with state law, individuals may use restrooms which align with their gender identities. You can learn more about gender, sex, and sexual orientation at the Human Rights Campaign’s extensive resources hub, including a glossary of terms.
- We can all agree that everyone deserves respect and dignity. Transgender people’s existence does not require anything of us besides simple human kindness. They are our friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors.
This is our Y and we welcome you!