An unidentified man partially undressed in a women's locker room at a Seattle public pool on Feb. 8. He then reportedly said he was allowed to because of a Washington state rule that permits people to choose a bathroom according to their gender identity (video below).
The man took off his shirt in the locker room, which caused women to alert Seattle Parks and Recreation employees who told the man to leave the locker room, KING 5 reports. However, the man told them that "the law has changed and I have a right to be here."
The man left the locker room on his own accord but returned later while some young girls were changing their clothes for swimming practice.
The park staff said the man did not identify his gender identity verbally or by the way he was dressed.
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Seattle Parks spokesman David Tatami said in a written statement to KING 5: "This didn’t seem like a transgender issue to staff – someone who was 'identifying' as a woman."
"We have guidelines that allow transgender individuals to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity," Tatami added. "We want everyone to feel comfortable in our facilities."
The new rule by the Washington state Human Rights Commission went into effect on Dec. 26, 2015, and it is supposed to protect transgender people who want to use bathrooms that do not match their biological identity.
Supporters and opponents of the rule held simultaneous protests at the state Capitol in Olympia on Feb. 15, notes The Olympian.
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“This rule, that is now mandated, opens the door, literally, to pedophiles, to sexual assaulters, to rapists, to those who want to abuse,” Angela Connelly, president of the Washington Women’s Network, said during the opponents' rally.
“We are not talking about the transgender people,” Connelly added. “This is an attack on our civil rights, and women have come a long way in the past 200 years, and we're not going back.”
“We’re just going to the bathroom,” Tali Jones, of Organizing Trans Olympia, told The Olympian. “And it’s a simple right, it’s not like we’re asking for any special favors. We just want to go pee.”