OLYMPIA, Wash. - A transgender woman said she was discriminated against after using the women’s locker room at Evergreen State College.
Colleen Francis was using the sauna in a women’s locker room inside the recreation center at the school late in September.
The same facility is used by two high school girls swim teams from Olympia, who also practice in the pool.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne spoke with Francis about the incident in which a woman told her to leave.
“I looked at her and said, ‘Excuse me?’ And she said, ‘You have to leave, I’ll be right back,’” said Francis. “She wouldn’t identify herself. All she said was that there were a couple of girls that came upstairs to the pool, and said that there was a man in the sauna.”
Francis, who acknowledges she was born a man, said she lived as a woman since 2009.
Someone still called campus police, and local parents heard about the incident.
“They’re uncomfortable with him being in there, her, being in there and are shocked by it,” said parent Kristi Holterman.
Holterman’s daughter was one of the swimmers and complained to Evergreen.
Officials at the school told KIRO 7 that they have been working with the Olympia School District, which leases space at the pool.
According to state law, it requires equal access to state facilities regardless of gender identity.
Local school officials said they came up with a temporary solution.
“There’s a smaller locker room next to the main locker room at the pool, and they (the swim teams) have been using that,” said Ryan Betz, a spokesman for the Olympia School District.
Francis believes the students need to be informed.
“This is not 1959 Alabama. We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain,” said Francis.
A parent told KIRO 7 that she is more concerned that her daughter and teammates have a safe and comfortable place to swim.