Saskatoon parents outraged by 'naked man' in girls change room, councillor says 'our society is changing'

'Gender identity is a protected right under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code,' says Ward 3 Councillor David Kirton. 'The City must follow the Code in implementing our policy [and] ... accommodate transgender members of our community.'

Saskatoon parents outraged by 'naked man' in girls change room, councillor says 'our society is changing'
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A Saskatoon parent is furious after learning that a 'naked man' went into the changing room of little girls during children's swimming lessons. Ward 3 Councillor David Kirton emailed the parent to thank them for "sharing your concerns."

Kirton informed the parent that with "our society changing," the naked man could stay in the girls changing room. He added that we should allow "a person to choose a change room based on their gender identity regardless of physical appearance."

Premier Scott Moe's office responded to an inquiry from the Western Standard, stating the matter is a municipal responsibility.

"The Government of Saskatchewan is aware of the concerns raised by parents," said Moe. "As the concerns involve operations of a municipal recreation facility, this would be most appropriately addressed by the municipality responsible."

"Gender identity is a protected right under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code," added Kirton. "The city must follow the Code in implementing our policy [and] ... accommodate transgender members of our community."

According to the Ward 3 Councillor, Saskatoon has done "significant work" to provide more change room privacy options than ever before. He specified that "upgrades such as privacy curtains and separate changing areas provide all patrons with a variety of privacy options [to] ... help all users of leisure facilities be as comfortable as possible."

Kirton said he is "proud" of the city's improvements to ensure all patrons have access to public or private change room facilities to suit their needs.

In the email, the councillor advised that the concerned parent "reach out to a staff member, and they will help you find a comfortable change room environment that suits your needs." But he fell short on specific details on how the city could accommodate them.

Kirton acknowledged only one "alleged incident at Shaw Centre last Friday, January 27, regarding an individual who identifies as female using the women's change room."

Over the weekend, Saskatoon parents protested outside the Shaw Centre against the 'naked man' spotted in the little girls changing room.

Roughly 100 protesters opposed the 'naked man,' while 50 counter-protesters claimed: "trans women are women."

Last week, protesters braved frigid temperatures to protest the incident at Saskatoon City Hall. 

The protests started after Saskatoon parents objected to a "naked man" using the same changing room as their young daughters.

"A male that identifies as female was in the female change room and walking around completely naked. No towel, no underwear," said a parent in a Facebook group. 

"I have spoken with a supervisor and was told anyone can use any change room based on what gender they identify with," said another parent.

Kirton said that the city's understanding of what occurred is "substantively different than what has been reported on social media." 

"We have no reason to believe any inappropriate behaviour occurred."

Kirton also said he condemns inappropriate behaviour and encourages people to report alleged incidents to facility staff. But he admits, "there will always be ways the city can improve our services."

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