Octogenarian Julie Jaman was in the shower at a YMCA-managed pool in Port Townsend, Washington, when she suddenly heard a man’s voice.
“There stands a man in a woman’s bathing suit, looking at, watching, and touching little girls who were taking down their bathing suits,” she told The Epoch Times.
She was shocked. At the time of the July 2022 incident, she had been using the pool for 34 years and had never seen a man in the women’s changing area.
After Ms. Jaman asked an employee to make sure he left the locker room, she was banned from the facility. Permanently.
Many states don’t have laws addressing whether men who identify as women, and vice versa, can or can’t use women’s restrooms and changing rooms.
That means federal law guides what is and isn’t legal in those locales.
Several states have affirmed that ruling, creating legislation allowing people who identify as transgender to use the restroom that aligns with their declared gender, rather than requiring them to use spaces set aside for their biological sex, according to a review of state laws by The Epoch Times.
More than a dozen states prohibit people from using restrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond with their biological sex, no matter how they identify.
Ms. Jaman said she was horrified to peek out into the changing area to see a man in a one-piece ladies’ swimsuit interacting with little girls.
Her first reaction, she said, was to ask, “Do you have a penis?”
She said the man replied, “That’s none of your business.”
Then, a YMCA staff member who was already in the locker room intervened.
When Ms. Jaman asked the pool staffer to remove the man, she said the worker retorted: “That’s discrimination! And you’re out of here. For life!”
The staff member, Ms. Jaman said, announced that she would call the police, and then hugged the man.
Stunned, Ms. Jaman left and immediately reported the incident to the Port Townsend Police Department. But it didn’t file a report at the time, she said.
The police department later spoke to YMCA staff members and filed a report, reviewed by The Epoch Times, that listed Ms. Jaman as a “suspect.”
The report said Ms. Jaman was “screaming,” “calling names,” and “refusing to leave.” The report also said that the man wasn’t “assisting” the little girls, but was “watching” them.
“I don’t talk like that,” Ms. Jaman said, disputing the YMCA staff account recorded in the report. “I know how to speak English. And that is not the way I speak to people.”
The law, which went into effect in December 2015, also states: “In a public accommodation situation, the rules apply to all places of public accommodation, including (but not limited to) schools, gyms, public facilities, stores, restaurants, and swimming pools, and the gender segregated facilities within those places of public accommodation.”
One question asks: “Can men now go into women’s bathrooms or locker rooms?”
The answer from the commission states: “No. Only females can go into women’s bathrooms or locker rooms in a gender segregated situation. This includes transgender females who identify as female,” referring to men who identify as female.
The answer goes on to state: “The rules do not protect persons who go into a restroom or locker room under false pretenses. For example, if a man declares himself to be transgender for the sole purpose of entering a women’s restroom or locker room, then the rule would not protect him.”
Who’s Allowed in Restrooms?State law on opposite-sex restroom use is still in its infancy, with many states not yet taking a side.
Currently, the most important factor affecting whether men can enter women’s spaces is federal law, according to Sarah Perry, a senior legal fellow for The Heritage Foundation.
Federal rules that ban discrimination on the basis of sex have been repurposed to ban discrimination based on someone’s gender identity, Ms. Perry told The Epoch Times.
Title IX, a provision of the Educational Amendments of 1972, was crafted to bring equality between men and women in most facets of education.
“The Biden administration has interpreted civil rights law to include ‘sex’ as ‘gender identity,’ which is the most expansive definition we’ve ever seen,” Ms. Perry said.
The Biden administration’s choice means that the default legal position is that anyone who announces transgender status can use opposite-sex bathrooms in schools, she said.
These Title IX anti-discrimination provisions don’t specifically apply to other facilities, and state laws can block this federal rule interpretation, Ms. Perry said.
“If that particular state doesn’t have a protective law in place, they will be bound by the Biden administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law, which is why we’re seeing so many of these challenges now come up in court,” she said.
Restroom Use Based on Gender Identity
More than a dozen states have amended their laws to include “gender identity” as a protected class subject to anti-discrimination laws. Usually, these laws include civil rights protections in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, which include restrooms.
These states include Delaware, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Some state laws also specifically protect a person’s “right” to use a restroom or changing room that aligns with his or her chosen “gender identity.”
States with specific laws, executive orders, or court decisions that allow individuals to use opposite-sex restrooms include California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, and Delaware.
“A school’s failure to accommodate a student’s asserted gender identity or expression is subject to enforcement action by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities,” the 2017 executive order states, in part.
In Maryland, Judge George L. Russell III ruled in March 2018 that, under Title IX, transgender-identifying individuals have the right to use opposite-sex school facilities.
The Hawaii Department of Education issued guidelines to schools in 2016 that state, “Students have access to bathroom and locker room facilities that correspond to their gender identity.”
The state joined a 2019 lawsuit against a school district for requiring transgender-identifying students to change in an “enhanced privacy” locker room that it built for transgender students. Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison contends that’s still discrimination.
States Upholding Single-Sex RestroomsOther states require people to use only those restrooms and changing areas that align with their biological sex, rather than their declared gender.
States protecting at least some single-sex spaces with laws, rules, or court decisions include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.
However, their laws vary in the kinds of spaces protected.
The 2023 Florida Statute states, “The Legislature finds that females and males should be provided restrooms and changing facilities for their exclusive use, respective to their sex, in order to maintain public safety, decency, decorum, and privacy.”
The law defines “sex” as “the classification of a person as either female or male based on the organization of the body of such person for a specific reproductive role, as indicated by the person’s sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, and internal and external genitalia present at birth.”
Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, and Tennessee also have laws or executive orders that define “sex” as biological sex at birth.
Lawsuits, especially regarding transgender policies in public schools, have been driving policy in a lot of states.
“Missourians do not co-parent with the government,” Mr. Bailey stated in the lawsuit.
The ACLU says the school district was wrong to reprimand and suspend the student for using female restrooms, against school policy. The ACLU says the school’s action constituted sex discrimination and disability discrimination, and violated the student’s rights under the Missouri Human Rights Act and the Missouri Constitution.
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, and Iowa laws protect single-sex spaces in schools through 12th grade.
“There are legitimate reasons to distinguish between the sexes with respect to athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, locker rooms, restrooms, and other areas where biology, safety, and/or privacy are implicated,” Mr. Pillen’s order states.
“The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 can protect transgender students from school bathroom policies that prohibit them from affirming their gender,” the court ruling states.
Danger to WomenPolicies that allow men to get undressed in spaces set aside for women can be dangerous for women, Doreen Denny, senior adviser for Concerned Women for America, told The Epoch Times.
For women, entering a secluded space with a potentially predatory man can be a matter of life and death, she said.
“Women have separate spaces for bathrooms, locker rooms, female prisons, and other places because it is a matter of safety and security,” Ms. Denny said. “We’re the weaker sex.”
These physical differences make women vulnerable to physical violence from men, Ms. Denny said. That’s why women need their own spaces as a precaution against male violence, she said.
“We have always been instructed, even conditioned, from our very earliest age to understand that being with other women is a place that provides for a greater amount of safety for us,” Ms. Denny said.
Historically, the U.S. government has recognized through laws that women are more vulnerable to violence than men, she said.
But the idea that some men are women eliminates these protections.
“All the gains we’ve made are simply being erased on the basis of some individual who—for his own desires, or confusion, or identity, or whatever crisis—is now assuming a different identity that’s a woman,” Ms. Denny said.
Under the banner of transgenderism, men have entered sororities, rape crisis centers, and women’s prisons.
In some women’s prisons, men with transgender identities have raped female prisoners.
Allowing men who say they’re women into women’s spaces gives women yet another location where they must remain wary, Ms. Denny said.
“How many women need to be raped before we realize that maybe it’s not such a great idea?” she asked.