Response to the YMCA of Pierce & Kitsap counties non-discrimination statement of December 15th, 2015

For Immediate Release
December 15th, 2015

In Washington State, and across the country, there is a growing focus on transgender individuals and their rights to access public restrooms and locker rooms. These are places the rest of us usually take for granted. In October, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties issued a policy that discriminated against transgender members. Over the past three months, the YMCA has listened to its members and community leaders.

The YMCA has strengthened our communities for years based on policy, practices and programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. By helping children, adults and families from all walks of life reach their goals and contribute to solutions that improve communities, the Y provides people with endless opportunities to achieve more, and we will continue to support them in those efforts.

Through this process, we have been reminded that true equality is not yet a reality for many in our community. Though we might not always realize it, transgender people are part of our families, workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our places of worship—and they need to be able to use the restroom and locker room, just like everyone else.

The YMCA is an institutional leader in our community and is now a model for transgender inclusion. As community leaders, organizations that support the LGBT community, and faith leaders, we applaud the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties for their December 15th, 2015 decision to allow all its members, including transgender individuals, use of the restroom and locker room facilities that are consistent with their gender identities. By adopting inclusive policies, places of public accommodation can ensure that all people are welcomed, included, and supported.

The YMCA’s Statement

Rev. Ann Adkinson, First United Methodist Church of Tacoma
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson
Metro Parks Commissioner Elect Jessie Baines
Rev. Dave Brown, Immanuel Presbyterian
City of Tacoma Councilmember Marty Campbell
WA State Sen. Jeannie Darneille
WA State Rep. Jake Fey
Metro Parks Commissioner Erik Hanberg
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck
City of Tacoma Councilmember Anders Ibsen
WA State Rep. Laurie Jinkins
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer
Jeff Klein
City of Tacoma Councilmember Ryan Mello
Kurt Miller
Rev. Tad Monroe
Rev. Jenny Rake-Marona
City of Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland
Pierce County Councilmember Rick Talbert
City of Tacoma Councilmember Robert Thoms
Tacoma School Board Director Catherine Ushka
Tacoma School Board Director Karen Vialle
City of Tacoma Councilmember Lauren Walker
Rev. David Wright, University of Puget Sound Director for Spiritual Life and Civic Engagement