Resident banned from Mountain View Pool after confrontation with trans employee

Posted 8/10/22

A Port Townsend woman has been permanently banned from the Mountain View Pool on Blaine Street after she confronted a transgender YMCA employee in the facility’s changing rooms and refused to …

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Resident banned from Mountain View Pool after confrontation with trans employee

Posted

A Port Townsend woman has been permanently banned from the Mountain View Pool on Blaine Street after she confronted a transgender YMCA employee in the facility’s changing rooms and refused to leave the property until pool staff called the police.

Since the incident, protests and subsequent counter-protests have occurred over the past week outside Mountain View Pool, which is managed and operated by the Olympic Peninsula YMCA.

And with a spate of harassing and disturbing phones calls and emails — most coming from out of the county — YMCA officials decided to close the Mountain View Pool and the YMCA’s Jefferson County branch for the rest of the week.

Officials also said they were having trouble getting employees to come to work. The pool is now expected to open back up on Monday, Aug. 15.

The incident started when Julie Jaman began yelling at an 18-year-old YMCA employee, who is a transgender woman, in the women’s changing room at the pool.

While showering in the changing room, Jaman said she heard a “man’s voice” and claimed she “saw a man dressed in a woman’s bathing suit” who appeared to be watching young girls taking down their bathing suits to use the restroom, Jaman said in an interview with The Leader.

The confrontation grew into an argument with another pool employee who was in the room, and Jaman was told to leave.

Officials with the Olympic Peninsula YMCA disputed Jaman’s version of events.

Erin Hawkins said the employee did nothing wrong.

“One of our YMCA staff members, she accompanied two girls to the restroom facility, serving in a supervision role. At the ‘Y’ we have a rule of three; staff always accompany children in a group of three, and staff members are never alone with a child,” Hawkins said.

REPEAT OFFENDER

Hawkins said Jaman had violated the YMCA’s code of conduct for use of the facility, something YMCA officials said had happened multiple times in the past.

“One of the children was standing outside the restroom stall, and the other girl was using the restroom. Mrs. Jaman, then expressed her concern in a disrespectful manner toward this staff person, which violates the ‘Y’ code of conduct,” Hawkins said.

Jaman then got into an argument with the pool’s aquatic manager and refused to leave the facility, officials said, eventually leaving after a staff member called the Port Townsend Police Department.

In the police report from the incident, the Port Townsend officer noted that “Julie became very ‘triggered’ and had an emotional response” after seeing the transgender employee in the changing room.

The report also stated that the employee “was in the bathroom with a child in the day camp and Julie asked if she had a penis and started screaming at her to get out.”

After the confrontation, Jaman left the Mountain View Campus shortly after the police were called, according to the police report and YMCA.

Jaman was also told she could not come back.

“The manager informed Mrs. Jaman that her membership was suspended [indefinitely] for violating the YMCA’s code of conduct,” Hawkins said, referencing the YMCA’s rule that members cannot discriminate or harass patrons or staff members on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Julie Jaman has repeatedly violated the ‘Y’s code of conduct, such as using disrespectful words or gestures toward YMCA staff or others; abusive, harassing and/or obscene language or gestures toward YMCA staff or others,” Hawkins said in an email.

Jaman, who said she is a 35-year patron of the pool, said she never used vulgar language toward any YMCA employees nor has she been reprimanded at the pool in the past.

“I was told secondhand that I used vulgar or abusive language since the only charge made to me was that I was discriminating … I believe that that story of abusive language was made up later on,” Jaman said.

“I know all about pool etiquette; I’ve never been reviewed or reprimanded, a warning, nothing,” she said.

STATE LAW CITED

Jaman said that the main issue she has with the pool is the lack of clarity in the form of signs or other means to indicate that transgender women will be allowed in the women’s restroom.

YMCA officials said they were following state law in allowing access to its facilities.

Washington state law asserts that transgender people have the right to access locker rooms, changing rooms, and bathrooms that align with their gender expression or gender identity.

When asked if she acknowledges the gender identity of the transgender pool employee, Jaman did not give a clear answer, saying that she was confused by the question.

Since the incident, Jaman has continued to refer to the YMCA employee as a man.

Hawkins also said the YMCA implements a variety of background checks on pool staff and patrons before they are accepted into the facility.

“Most importantly, children who are entrusted to our care, we do have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe. Our staff received background checks before being hired by the YMCA,” Hawkins said.

Additionally, staff members complete training every year to recognize potential child abuse and applicants looking to join the pool are screened through software called Raptor Technologies, which checks to confirm that applicants aren’t sex offenders and have never committed crimes against children, according to the YMCA.

Following the incident, protests and counter-protests have occurred in front of the Mountain View Campus on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week.

According to Hawkins, Tuesday, Aug. 2 drew the largest crowd with around 50 to 60 people, and the majority of those in attendance were counter-protesting in support of the YMCA’s decision and to support the LGBTQ+ community.

The incident has since prompted headlines on multiple conservative news and entertainment outlets, with many repeating the false claim that Jaman had confronted a man in the woman’s shower area and was banned by the YMCA because of it.

“Since then, the whole world has been knocking at my door,” Jaman said of the incident’s nationwide media coverage.

Mountain View Pool and the Olympic Peninsula YMCA have since received critical and negative phone calls and emails from people around the country.

“Staff have received harsh criticism and hateful messages from all over the country for the ‘Y’ acting in accordance with state law and revoking Julie’s membership for repeatedly violating our Code of Conduct,” Hawkins said via email, adding that only a few news outlets have reached out to the YMCA to hear its side of the story.

So far, the Mountain View Pool and Olympic Peninsula YMCA have received around 100 total calls and emails since the incident.

Jaman stated that she has been a victim of the after-effects from her pool incident as well, saying that the city of Port Townsend has taken the YMCA’s side and city representatives have accused her of being a bigot.

“At this point, it appears I am the one being discriminated against,” Jaman said.

ANGER BOILS OVER

The protests and discussions on transgender people using women’s and men’s restrooms and changing facilities spilled into the Port Townsend City Council meeting last week, with 25-plus advocates on both sides talking about the incident.

“This individual is not a man identifying as a woman; this individual is a woman. I think we need to have respect and inclusivity … it is inappropriate for people in this day and age, in 2022, not to recognize what transgender means,” said Sequim resident Rebecca Horst.

Tensions rose when both  Port Townsend Mayor David Faber and City Manager John Mauro tried to talk after the public comment session.

Both were repeatedly interrupted when they tried to speak.

“I listened to you quietly; I would like you to listen to me quietly now,” Faber said.

“Port Townsend is a welcoming community, and hate and discrimination have no place in this community,” the mayor said. “LGBTQ people, trans people in particular in this case, are entitled to basic respect, and they have not been receiving that in much of the commentary tonight, calling them ‘pedophiles’ and ‘rapists’ and ‘predators.’”

“Our staff, our team, is comprised of a variety of individuals, some who identify as trans [and] LGBTQ community members, and it’s our duty to not just respect diversity, but to actually embrace that as part of what builds a strong city team,” Mauro added.

“I couldn’t stand up here and say to you that we are not behind the Y’s decision based on abusive behavior to stand for the respect of every individual,” he said.

Comments

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  • Dcc

    Kudos to the Y and David Faber for their position of support and I hope that Ms Jaman receives the counseling that she needs.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    Men have no business being in the women's locker room, go sell crazy somewhere else.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • Thomas Camfield

    To me, this story boils down to the comments: “Port Townsend is a welcoming community, and hate and discrimination have no place in this community,” the mayor said. “LGBTQ people, trans people in particular in this case, are entitled to basic respect, and they have not been receiving that in much of the commentary tonight, calling them ‘pedophiles’ and ‘rapists’ and ‘predators'."

    “Our staff, our team, is comprised of a variety of individuals, some who identify as trans [and] LGBTQ community members, and it’s our duty to not just respect diversity, but to actually embrace that as part of what builds a strong city team,” Mauro added.

    Port Townsend has been my town since 1929 and I want it to proceed with the times as a welcoming community and one enriched by diversity. Life is too short to spend looking for someone to whom to feel superior—and has been created for other purposes.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    So Tom, are you OK with your wife or daughter sharing their locker room with some dude who thinks he's a woman staring at them? Or is this like your support for the Sanctuary City issue, for it as long as they don't camp in your yard?

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • rorybowman

    Female-only spaces were created for sound historical reasons, all of which still apply today. Among these are the safety, modesty and dignity of female people. Males commit the vast majority of ***ual assaults, with no evidence that ideas about some special "identity" decrease that male propensity. All males are equally male, and equally suspicious, which is why males are excluded based on their physical ***. Good males stay out so that bad males stand out, and no trustworthy male would ever put themselves in a position where they must be trusted.

    From the outside it looks like the YMCA failed its employee and its own procedures, then over-reacted to punish the good-faith concerns and direct courage of an older woman who objected. It is possible to protect female-only spaces, let Julie swim and assure access to fitness facilities across the entire community.

    Female-only spaces were created for good reasons, and should be preserved, not made into a bauble for some to give away so that they can feel better while taking female spaces from the people for whom they were first originally designed.

    Friday, August 12 Report this

  • chetzemoco

    As a recent arrival to PT who proudly hails from the progressive bastion of San Francisco, I am dismayed by the display I witnessed at last week’s city council meeting. What I saw were two sides talking past each other, lazy rhetoric informed by lazy thinking, and the failure of leadership to moderate discussion. It is exactly the kind of thing playing out all over the country right now, but frankly, I had expected better in PT.

    Unable to reign in emotion, many of those arguing on behalf of Ms Jaman project distrust and a naked cynicism that denies the humanity of trans people. There is absolutely no cause to utter “trans***ual” and “pedophile” in the same sentence. In fact, there are perfectly legitimate objections to be made to the state law that do not require the coupling of trans people with pedophilia or predatory behavior. Quite simply, the law provides a loophole for *cisgender* men to access the private spaces of women under false pretenses. That is the issue, isn’t it? It should be so stated.

    On the other side, the repeated dismissal of Jaman and her ilk as “bigots” is being done in extremely bad faith in an effort to silence the opposition with something like a blunt instrument. Proponents are effectively daring them to disagree and face the consequences. Similarly, the mantra that “trans women are women” is wielded as the rhetorical equivalent of a mic drop, but it willfully ignores the biological reality that remains an important component of gender and is invoked by those who criticize the law.

    The mayor closed the meeting by stating his wish to “err on the side of open discussion.” Sir, it is your *obligation* to facilitate open discussion. When you talk about speech coming close to “stepping over the line,” you are conflating uncomfortable, offensive, and discriminatory. We will not be able to move this issue forward if your constituents are afraid to speak for fear of guilt or cancellation. On the contrary, it will only breed resentment and hate.

    I do not know Ms Jaman, and while I was not particularly impressed by her testimony, the optics — specifically, her history at the pool and the clumsiness with which the facts have been compiled — are such that it is reasonable to conclude that she has not been given her due process. At the very least, I would hope that the community can come together toward some kind of reconciliation in this case. Tolerance is not a zero-sum game.

    Friday, August 12 Report this

  • VickyCamfield

    In a world filled with choices, I see to often adults making theirs for reasons That truly make no sense, we become adults and stop remembering the most crucial choice of all time, which is the children our most precious assets on this planet.. their safety, their life, their needs and of course what is best for them. Children depend on us adults to choose protection for them, to be there for them, to be on their side to be their lion… food for thought. The kids need to learn to swim accompanied by their mother, please don’t stand in their way.

    Monday, August 22 Report this