SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – A transgender woman says she was shocked to learn she had become the center of international attention after using the women’s shower at the YMCA.
Christynne Lili Wrene Wood, 66, said the Cameron Family YMCA in Santee is her place of harmony.
But that safe haven changed in recent days after media reports started circulating about a 17-year-old girl who felt uncomfortable following a visit to the YMCA in December.
The 17-year-old, Rebecca Phillips, told a January 11th Santee City council meeting, that after swimming laps in December as she was showering: “I saw a naked male in the women’s locker room.”
“I immediately went back into the shower terrified and hid behind their flimsy excuse for a curtain until he was gone.”
Watch her full statement before the Santee City Council below:
Wood who transitioned back in 2016 said she was “absolutely crushed” when she saw the city council meeting posted online with Phillips’ statement and read articles from tabloids in New York and the U.K. about her.
She said she never saw the girl and only learned about her complaint after the council meeting when her friends at the YMCA asked her if she was OK.
“I picked up my little doggy. I gave him the biggest hug and people, my aqua sisters, including my instructors, came out of the woodwork and said, ‘we love you, we support you, what can we do for you?’”
Wood, who started the transition process back in 2016, spoke exclusively with ABC10News on Wednesday and said she wanted to correct inaccuracies that are circulating about her online.
“They begin with the lie of there’s a naked man in the locker room,” she said adding she is a woman and always showers with the curtain closed in one of the five private stalls in the female locker room.
The YMCA said it follows California law, which requires businesses to allow transgender or nonbinary customers to use the locker room that matches their gender identity.
The YMCA said it wants to ensure all its members feel safe and comfortable at its facility. It reiterated there are private stalls in the facility’s locker rooms and there is also a gender-neutral washroom with a shower available.
“There are options for people, all people, based on their personal preference and their need for privacy, desire for privacy,” said Shelly Mctighe-Rippengale, executive VP for the YMCA of San Diego county.
Mctighe-Rippengale said the YMCA is now looking at going even further to find ways to increase privacy.
Hundreds of people gathered at a protest outside the YMCA Wednesday night shortly after 6 p.m. opposed to Wood’s use of the shower.
Wood meanwhile said she won’t be intimated by the backlash and has fighting in her blood.
“My great aunt and uncle and my grandparents marched with Dr. King,” she said.