On August 8, 2022, the Olympic Peninsula YMCA banned an 80-year-old woman, a long-time member of the facility and a resident of Washington state, for her “discriminatory” attitude towards a biological male wearing a woman’s swimsuit watching little girls in the women’s dressing room.
Let’s explore what happened that afternoon and how the situation unraveled further. On July 26, 2022, Julie Jaman, an 80-year-old avid swimmer, decided to enjoy a swim to beat the summer heat at the Mountain View Pool, YMCA community pool, just like any other day. For 35 years, she believed that the local YMCA facility was a safe place, but that afternoon, her world was never the same.
Julie was changing in the shower room with the other young girls when she heard a man’s voice, and soon after, a biological man or a “transgender woman” entered the room while wearing a “women’s bathing” suit.
According to Jaman, she saw the biological male in a woman’s bathing suit watching young girls pull down their bathing suits in the female showers in the women’s dressing area. Distressed by seeing a man sharing the same room with another young girl, Jaman decided to confront the person named Clementine Adams.
Jaman asked Adams whether they had a penis, to which Adams replied that it was none of her business. Enraged, Jaman yelled at the person, asking them to leave.
When Jaman asked the transgender woman to leave, and they did not comply, she decided to inform Rowen DeLuna, an aquatics manager, of the situation. Instead of sympathizing with Jaman, DeLuna told her that the person she accused was a YMCA employee, and she immediately banned her.
DeLuna called the police. An officer with the Port Townsend Police Department reached the facility and talked to Jaman while writing a police report about the incident.
Jaman did not take the ban lightly and decided to take the matter to the CEO of the facility, Wendy Bart.
The 80-year-old woman, Julie Jaman, expressed her concerns over what she saw. She stated that she was naked in the showers, covered in soap and that a strange male was beside her. However, she did not receive the reply she was expecting.
Bart told Jaman that her actions were discriminating against the employee and that she must respect YMCA values.
Jaman responded quickly to Bart, stating that she respected all human beings, but it was the organization’s responsibility to warn its members of their “open-door” policy at the community pool. Bart argued that the “pride” signs posted across the entire facility were enough to let pool patrons and other members know that men who identify as women are free to use the women’s locker room.
Although Jaman believed she had done nothing wrong, Wendy Bart handed Jaman the news of her official ban. The indefinite ban meant she could not visit the Mountain View pool anymore.
After the ban hit the local news, call records started to surface, which helped authorities understand what was happening at the facility.
One call made from a person inside the YMCA facility stated that Clementine was in the women’s locker room when Jaman became aggressive towards her and asked her to get out.
Another unidentified caller stated that Jaman was not only aggressive towards Clementine but also other employees, calling them names and hurling harsh words towards them.
After the ban, Jaman spoke about the incident at a subsequent city council meeting. She explained how the young girls were undressing while a man in a woman’s swimsuit was watching closely.
She told the council meeting of the lack of signage informing women that the women’s shower room is “all-gender.” Jaman raised concerns about this new policy and what it meant. She believed there should be dressing shower room options for women who do not want to be exposed to men who identify as women.
Jaman stated that the YMCA implemented these new policies without informing pool patrons and parents. She said that it is the responsibility of the officials to take action and ensure little girls feel safe at their facilities.
Jaman expressed that the YMCA officials, the local law enforcement authorities, parents, and individuals supporting victims of pedophilia, abuse, and voyeurism must come together to figure out how to ensure the new policies work for all groups of people and not just one.
The incident at the YMCA pool in July was a classic example of how two radically opposed value systems clash.
Jaman and her views belonged to the realist camp, where they view the world based on the observation of reality, logic, and reason. On the other hand, the employees at the YMCA pool, including the CEO, Wendy Bart, resided in the opposing camp, where the system relies on a person’s feelings.
It is highly doubtful that the two systems work in harmony. The 80-year-old Julie Jaman is not outdated, as some would want to believe. She has years of experience and wisdom, which rang the alarm bells when she saw Adams present in the room while little girls changed. Jaman’s instinct kicked in, and she tried her best to protect the little girls after sensing “danger.”
Although she may be right in her way, gender identity and gender expression have come a long way in today’s society. Washington state has laws protecting transgender employees and job applicants against discrimination and harassment. The actions taken by the YMCA to defend their employee, Clementine Adams, are ones that many employers can learn from no matter how the employee identifies.
Even with all the laws, employers still discriminate against people. If you or someone you love has suffered severe discrimination and harm, Ehline Law and our discrimination attorneys are here to help. Contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation on your case.