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image of Speak Up for Women’s Spaces at the YMCA!

Action Center

Speak Up for Women’s Spaces at the YMCA!

The YMCA is letting down its female members in communities across the nation. By allowing biological men to use female-designated locker rooms and bathrooms, the Y is compromising both privacy and safety. But that’s not all. Some YMCAs have even gone so far as to ban females who object to these practices from using their facilities. 

In Illinois, 16-year-old Abbigail Wheeler was kicked off the YMCA’s club swim team and then banned from the Springfield YMCA for voicing her concerns about sharing a women’s changing space with a male. 

Abigail’s sister, Kaitlynn Wheeler, a former NCAA swimmer and teammate of Riley Gaines at the University of Kentucky, said: “It is crazy to me that we are having this conversation. The safety and security of females in women-only spaces should be protected — otherwise it is false advertising to have sex-specific spaces and opportunities. Forcing any woman — especially minor girls — to share a locker room and undress before a male is irresponsible and inappropriate and undermines a woman’s human rights, respect, and dignity.”

In Port Townsend, Washington, 80-year-old Julie Jaman, who was a 35-year regular at her local YMCA, was banned from that facility’s pool for complaining about a transgender worker who was present in a women’s private changing space as mothers removed little girls’ bathing suits.

Most recently, a group of female athletes and parents voiced concerns about a transgender individual groping and leering at young girls at small-town YMCAs in suburban Ohio.  

The YMCA, can and should do what is right and play a leadership role by ensuring women continue to feel safe in their facilities. 

The YMCA should understand that biological differences between the sexes sometimes warrant the creation of separate social, educational, athletic, or other spaces in order to ensure safety and/or to allow members of each sex to feel safe, succeed and thrive. Read more.

Take Action! Send a message to YMCA leadership to respect the privacy and safety of their female members

Show women of all ages that they have support and can stand up to the YMCA. Together, we can ask for a policy change that supports common sense protections for women’s privacy and safety! 

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