A mother wants the community to be aware of a disturbing incident that happened at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.
Janayh Wright was about to change in the women’s change rooms Friday when she says she noticed a person wearing a wig and face mask without a bag, towel or swimsuit. Wright says she then saw the person starting to look around in the showers then get into a stall close to her nine-year-old daughter’s.
“I could see their feet moving, so you could see the bottom of the stall, then I saw the wig peer down and they were trying to peek underneath the stall,” said Wright.
“When the individual came out of the room still fully clothed I then approached them. They told me it was in their human rights to be in the changeroom and that they weren’t going to leave. There were a few words exchanged and I ushered them out the door.”
When she told a facility manager what occurred, Wright says she was told it was unacceptable behaviour but the person was within their human rights to be there. Wright says she was disappointed with how staff handled her complaint.
“This has to do with a safety issue with children. This is in no way an attack against the LGBTQ community. This doesn’t have anything to do with that at all,” said Wright.
Wright reported it to police an hour after the incident.
The City of Nanaimo says it’s also been in contact with police and says there have been two reported incidents in the past week regarding the activities of a transgender individual in the women’s change room.
The city says people are given access to washrooms and change rooms that correspond to their gender identity, according to the Human Rights Code and Human Rights Act.
With the incident leading to a growing number of online threats and attacks against the trans community, the Nanaimo Pride Society has issued a statement saying “we simply can’t know right now whether this alleged offender is trans in the early stages of transition, or a cisgender man looking for loopholes, or a bad actor using a common fear as a lightning rod to create an anti-trans mob.”
The organization goes on to say it “…condemns malicious, predatory behaviour, no matter who the perpetrator is.”
Wright is urging others not to target the trans community over the incident. She says she wants people to be aware in case they experience a similar incident in an area change room.
The City of Nanaimo says it has a code of conduct for its facilities and if a person is found breaching them they could be fined or banned from accessing a facility for a period of time up to a lifetime ban.