Rally held after altercation at North Cowichan pool changeroom

Rally held after altercation at North Cowichan pool changeroom

A rally was held outside the Cowichan Aquatic Centre in North Cowichan on Tuesday following a bizarre incident in a women’s changeroom, and the violent confrontation that followed, over the weekend.

On Saturday evening, a man was recorded walking into the women’s change room at the pool to the shock of the women and girls around him.

The partner of the man in the women’s changeroom told CHEK News he was in that changeroom because the family was in a rush and he was trying to help his young kids.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘Misunderstanding’ sparked fight, viral video at Cowichan Aquatic Centre, says partner

Two women at the pool confronted the man on camera, and he made a comment that sparked the backlash towards transgender people.

“I could identify as a lady with a beard, there’s nothing you could do about that,” Natus, the Salt Spring man, said ahead of a fight between the two groups.

His partner, Jupitor Butler, says he actually said that comment to mock the transgender movement.

KJ Reed, a gender studies professor at Vancouver Island University, says the reaction calling for safe spaces for women isn’t condemning the man or his actions, but attacks the rights of transgender people.

“If you look at who is perpetrating harm on women, it is overwhelmingly cisgender men. It is not the trans community. Statistics Canada is clear on that,” Reed told CHEK News.

“So I would just ask people to take a breath, think about the behaviour, instead of an identity and to take this as a moment to check in with your trans friends, and colleagues. Because every time we’re used as a red herring, it’s harmful. It creates hate in the community and it’s not OK.”

Rally outside the aquatic centre

Serena Winterburn, one of the main speakers at the rally on Tuesday, said the focus of her concern is not on the man’s comments but on his presence in the changeroom.

“This is not an issue of inclusivity and this is not an issue of representing everyone’s rights because I am someone who stands for everyone’s rights,” she says in a video of the rally posted to social media.

“Our LGBTQ+ community and our trans community have rights, but that does not impede upon the rights of our girls and our women and in no way can that erode our sense of safety, privacy, nor dignity, and that is what this is about today,” she says.

Due to the physical fight that ensued in the confrontation caught on video, which resulted in several injuries, RCMP is investigating and asks anyone with information to speak with investigators.

This story was updated on March 27 with a quote from a rally speaker.

-With files from CHEK’s Skye Ryan, Oli Herrera and Laura Brougham


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