(NEW YORK) — The decision to allow a transgender 45-year-old college student who identifies as a woman but has male genitalia to use the women’s locker room has raised a fracas among parents and faith-based organizations, who say children as young as 6 years old use the locker room.
The locker room at Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash., is shared with the Capital High School swim club and a children’s swim academy, along with the students at Evergreen.
“The college has to follow state law,” Evergreen spokesman Jason Wettstein told ABC News affiliate KOMO. “The college cannot discriminate based on the basis of gender identity. Gender identity is one of the protected things in discrimination law in this state.”
But according to parents, the fact that the student has exposed her male genitalia, in one instance in the sauna, is cause for concern.
“[A mother] reported her daughter was upset because she observed a person at the women’s locker room naked and displaying male genitalia,” said a police report filed in September by a mother on behalf of her 17-year-old daughter.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based religious liberties group, sent a letter to Evergreen College on Friday, warning it that the decision to allow the transgender student to continue using the locker room could put the school in jeopardy.
“The fact that this individual was sitting in plain view of young girls changing into their swimsuits puts you and Evergreen on notice of possible future harm,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel, wrote.
The college has installed privacy curtains, and said it would not change its policy for now.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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