Officials at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, said that state law renders them powerless to prevent a "transgender" man from using the women's locker room at the school because he supposedly identifies as a woman. The 45-year-old man, who calls himself Colleen Francis, reportedly exposed himself on several occasions to young girls who were using the locker room as part of swimming clubs. But instead of having the man arrested, school officials have insisted that a state non-discrimination law protects the “transgendered” man from prosecution.
“We have to follow a non-discrimination policy with the state,” Jason Wettstein, a spokesman for the college, told CampusReform.org. “State law doesn’t allow us to ignore gender identity as one of the protected classes. Therefore the transgendered individual has the right to use our facilities, including the locker rooms.”
The school rents its swimming pool and locker facilities to local high school swimming teams, as well as to a pair of swimming clubs, and on multiple occasions girls as young as six years old have witnessed the full frontal nudity of Francis as he used the women's facilities. But instead of banning Francis from the locker room, the school has instead installed curtains and directed women and girls using the locker room to change behind them.
In September, the mother of a 17-year-old girl called the police after her daughter observed the naked man using the sauna in the women's locker room. The police report indicated that Francis was sitting naked “with his legs open,” while girls as young as six were present in the area. “Police were, however, advised by the local prosecutor’s office that 'criminal law is very vague in this area and it would be unlikely they could pursue charges,'” reported CampusReform.
When confronted with his behavior, Francis claimed he saw nothing wrong with his use of the women's facilities. “This is not 1959 Alabama,” Francis told local television station KIRO. “We don’t call the police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”
However, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative legal advocacy group, has come to the defense of the young girls and their parents, informing officials at Evergreen State College that they are legally liable to protect the girls using the facility from both physical and emotional harm that may befall them because of the behavior of individuals such as Francis. “Allowing a grown man to use and expose himself in a women's locker room while young girls are changing demonstrates a clear failure to keep Evergreen's premises in a safe condition,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker wrote to school officials.
Hacker warned that the school may be liable for failing to enforce state or local indecent exposure statutes. ADF explained that “a person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”
The ADF attorney said that “allowing a person who is biologically a male to undress and expose himself to young girls places those girls at risk for emotional harm and distress. Any reasonable person would view this as dangerous to the young girls involved.”
He insisted that installing curtains to supposedly protect the girls from being exposed to Francis is insufficient. “Evergreen continues to allow Francis, and apparently any man who claims to be a woman, to use its women's locker room and expose himself to minors without restraint,” Hacker charged. He asked the officials to give him prompt notification as soon as they had decided how to rectify the situation.
Hacker noted that the incident at Evergreen is part of a wider trend that places minors and others at risk in the name of non-discrimination. “The idea that the college and the local district attorney will not act to protect young girls is appalling,” he said. “What Americans are seeing here is the poisoned fruit of so-called ‘non-discrimination’ laws and policies. Placing this man’s proclivities ahead of protecting little girls is beyond unacceptable.”