On Tuesday night, I was stunned to see a YouTube video released by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in support of House Bill 2. The video misrepresents the inclusive spirit and practice of the YWCA. I write today to express my frustration and to set the record straight on our organization’s position.
In this video, designed to alarm citizens with threats of predators lurking in bathrooms, the narrator cited the cancelled Charlotte ordinance as a vote to “ban single-sex shower facilities” therefore granting men “a legally protected right to go into the shower of their choice.” It swiftly links this misinformation to the YWCA, saying, “under Charlotte’s ordinance, the YWCA would have been mandated by law ... to open all showers to all sexes at all times.”
The non-discrimination ordinance passed by Charlotte City Council and its subsequent cancellation by North Carolina House Bill 2 does not change how we operate and treat people at YWCA. We have always been inclusive and welcoming, promoting dignity for all people.
We are confident in our ability to maintain the comfort, privacy and dignity of all of our members in our locker rooms. In January, our YWCA board of directors approved an inclusive statement which serves as a guidepost to our staff. In it, we affirm that “members are encouraged to use the locker room that makes them feel most comfortable, meaning that all people should be able to access the bathroom/locker room that is appropriate for them based on their gender identity. YWCA Central Carolinas does not tolerate behavior from anyone that would make our members feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Our staff is vigilant in investigating any indecent, inappropriate, or disrespectful behavior.”
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We deeply believe in our mission, which compels us to promote peace justice, freedom and dignity for all. We cannot stand by and be silent in the face of discrimination. We eagerly await the repeal of HB2.
Sikkelee is CEO, YWCA Central Carolinas.