A California girl encountered a naked biological male who identifies as transgender in her local YMCA locker room, an experience she tearfully recounted before her city council last week.
Rebecca Phillips, 17, had finished showering after a workout at the YMCA in Santee, California when she saw biological male naked in the locker room. Not knowing what else to do, she quickly went back into a shower stall to hide.
“As I was showering after my workout, I saw a naked male in the women’s locker room,” Phillips recalled during the city council meeting. “I immediately went back into the shower, terrified, and hid behind their flimsy excuse for a curtain until he was gone.”
Phillips said that management at the YMCA assured her that she was “safe” and that the biological male “was indeed allowed to shower wherever he pleased.”
“I was made to feel as if I had done something wrong,” Phillips said, adding, “the indecent exposure of a male to a female minor was an inconvenience to them.”
During Phillips’ address to the city council members, she was visibly upset as she discussed her 5-year-old little sister’s frequent use of the same YMCA facilities.
“This is the YMCA where hundreds of children spend their summer afternoons in childcare camps,” Philips said. “This is the YMCA where my little sister took gymnastics lessons. The locker room was supposed to be her safe haven to gossip with her friends, and shower and change.”
Instances like the one Phillips described are more likely to occur in California since state law now dictates citizens must be allowed to use the facilities that align with their gender identity rather than birth sex.
Santee is also in San Diego County, which voted last May to redefine the word “woman,” effectively allowing transgender women in all county facilities, including prisons, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters.
In other words, as Phillips stated, “A grown male can shower alongside a teenage girl at your YMCA, here in Santee.”
Phillips says her father repeatedly tried to speak with YMCA management before the branch’s director of membership told him she was never in any danger.
“Could you knowingly send an underage girl into a room where there was a naked male and say that she was not in danger, that she was safe, or more importantly, that this was right?” Phillips asked the council members.
Dan Cruz, a YMCA of San Diego County spokesman, appeared Friday on local station KUSI’s Good Evening San Diego to reiterate that the YMCA is “dedicated to diversity, inclusion and equity.”
Initially, the YMCA did not apologize but said it is looking into its floorplans and it was committed to ensuring that “all individuals feel comfortable.”
But once video of Phillip’s testimony began going viral, the YMCA of San Diego County issued a revised press release including an apology to Phillips:
“We understand that the minor involved felt hurt and frustrated, and we wholeheartedly apologize for not providing her with the level of support she deserves,” the official statement read.
Phillips told local media that she understands the position the YMCA finds itself in, but “the issue is much simpler than people realize it is or think that it is.”
“Everyone agrees that a grown man should not be showering next to an underage girl,” Phillips concluded. “It’s that simple.”