An Easy Ethics Call: The Flasher In The Girl’s Locker Room (UPDATED)

Proudly defending the right to freak out little girls.

How society should treat individuals with one gender’s genitalia but who identify with the opposite gender is a question that involves much more than ethical considerations. At this point, I haven’t been able to devote sufficient thought and research to the problem to propose an answer. The current controversy of Colleen Francis, however, inspires no such hesitancy on my part, because the correct solution to that problem is purely a matter of ethics. I’ll stipulate, for the time being, that it is right, legal and proper for Colleen, a transgendered student at Olympia College in Evergreen, Washington, to use the women’s locker rooms there, despite the fact that the 45-year-old still has a complete set of male genitalia, since she identifies as a woman, and as far as the school is concerned, a woman she is. Sold. I buy it.

However, Colleen apparently likes to display her alien genitalia with abandon in the ladies locker room, despite the fact that she often is surrounded by members of a high school swim club and a children’s swimming academy, many of whom are high school age or younger, and some of whom are as young as six.

Unethical. Inconsiderate. Offensive.

Disrespectful. Irresponsible.

Wrong.

And indescribably creepy. Apparently Colleen is of the unfortunate breed of human who refuses to distinguish between what is her right and what is civilized, polite, reasonable conduct. No female child should be forced to stare at male sexual equipment, whether the owner self-identifies as a woman or as Thomas the Tank Engine. The school has provided a screened-off area for the kids who have advance warning of the proclivities of the defiant and unapologetic flasher in their midst, but that is irrelevant. Colleen should understand the problem and exercise some common sense, kindness, or, heaven forbid, even modesty. Insisting on the extreme end of her legal rights as a transgendered student at the cost of needlessly traumatizing young girls is indefensible from an any ethical perspective. Ethics includes reasonable consideration of the feelings and sensibilities of other, including the young women and girls in the locker room and their parents.

If I were a member of the transgendered community, I’d also feel that Ms. Francis’s conduct undermines our efforts to gain public acceptance and understanding. Transgendered Americans are as genteel, polite, accommodating and reasonable as anyone else, but having one of them behaving like this in a high-profile controversy does not advance the cause. Yes, Colleen has the legal right to swing her naughty bits around like it was the locker room of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but an ethical person wouldn’t. She should agree to use the special screened off section as a matter of kindness and consideration for the younger girls, not insist that they be forced to flee there.

Easy call.

UPDATE (3/11/15): The original reports appear to have distorted the facts of the case. Two 17 year olds went into an area they weren’t allowed, attempted to view the people in the sauna and saw Colleen, who was using a special screened off area the younger girls were forbidden to enter. More here. Thanks to Zoebrain for the update.

 

________________________________________

Pointer: Althouse

Sources:

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

 

 

100 thoughts on “An Easy Ethics Call: The Flasher In The Girl’s Locker Room (UPDATED)

  1. A second report filed by an outside swim coach stated having ‘observed Colleen sitting with her legs open with her male genitalia showing’ in the sauna before telling her she had to leave and calling police.

    Some of the female commenters on the comments section of this site pointed out that most women in the sauna do not sit with their legs open exposing their female genitalia.

    Of course, this is a preliminary report; perhaps more details will come out.

    • Some of the female commenters on the comments section of this site pointed out that most women in the sauna do not sit with their legs open exposing their female genitalia.

      That most don’t likely means that some do.

      Also, I honestly can’t imagine sitting in a sauna with my legs in such a position that my genitalia isn’t readily visible. With most traditional female genitalia, this wouldn’t be so much of an issue.

  2. You’re right Jack, easy one. Even if her goal is to desensitize the public at large to the novelty of her situation, she does no one any favors, and in fact, probably sets the work done by many to further her rights, back years if not decades.

    • This may make Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people think twice about working with Trans people, after what this nutjob has done. He may have set rights for his community back two Decades because of him.

          • You need to look into “Biological reality” a little more. There are multiple different components that go into gender, and they don’t always line up together. Hell, an XY women has given birth before. If to you “Penis = male” then does “4 wheels = car”?

            Maybe this informative comment of the day from zoebrain will help: https://ethicsalarms.com/2012/08/02/comment-of-the-day-is-a-transgendered-woman-ethically-obligated-to-tell-her-boyfriend-that-she-used-to-be-male/

            • (Ducking for cover)
              There’s a history here, Nicky has been cyberstalking me for 7 years now.

              He;s quite aware of Intersex, since he has claimed to suffer from both Klinefelters and Kallmann’s syndrome at various times. I believe it likely that he suffers from Kallmann’s, his vivid descriptions of certain body parts and the characteristic anosmia match that.

              I recommend reading his blog, http://kallmannssyndrome.wordpress.com/ to determine his general attitude to Transsexuals. it is not favourable, and he’s quite obsessive about it..

              Some things are certain: his life has not been easy, he’s quite intelligent, and has been treated very poorly by the medical and psychiatric profession.

              As a big part of his and sometimes her identity is that they are Intersex, it’s particularly unfortunate that Kallmann’s is not usually classified as an Intersex condition, despite its effect on genitalia. I think it should be.

              This has led to Nicki having an unfortunately hostile and unfair reception in many Intersex support groups. In others, he’s been banned because of his threats of physical violence, but not before he’s had vicious, deliberately harmful scorn poured on him, something even I think is horribly unjust and far worse than any initial offense of his. While many people could shrug it off, anyone whose mental health has to be under constant strain is far more vulnerable, and doesn’t deserve that treatment, regardless of provocation.

                    • To be clearer, you can’t claim there are no XY women if there are infact XY women. Unless you consider the XY person with female genitalia who gave birth to be male, you are inherently inconsistent.

                    • No, you’re being inherently dumb. A rare mistake of nature does not a subspecies of humanity make. You’re trying to make a genetic case (predisposition!) where none exists. This individual isn’t female… obviously. Likely he’s not in his “mind”, either. He’s just found a convenient way to expose himself to women and little girls for the perverse delight of it. How obvious does it have to be before it dawns on you?

                    • SMP,

                      First, I’m not sure if you realized, but your first statement says that being dumb is inherent in my person. That’s an inappropriate ad hominem attack.

                      Second, you haven’t explained away the contradiction. You said XY women don’t exist. When I pointed to a case of an XY person that most would consider female, you said that there are sometimes mistake XY women. If there are sometimes mistakes, how can you say definitively that this person is not one of those mistakes?

                    • TGT: If this “person” were one of those extremely rare hermaphoditic mistakes of nature, how is it that he/she/it is able (and willing, apparently) to show Mr. Kahooties off to everything female it can? Obviously, there’s some (deviant) biological imperative coming down here!

                    • f this “person” were one of those extremely rare hermaphoditic mistakes of nature, how is it that he/she/it is able (and willing, apparently) to show Mr. Kahooties off to everything female it can?

                      How is she able? Because the parts are there. My god you’re a troll.

                      How is she willing? Maybe because she’s comfortable with who she is, like a healthy person.

              • That’s why people like Zoe Allen Brain and tgt like to use intersex people like me to justify and legitimatize their mental delusions. They have no sense of biological reality and hate biology so much that they like to deny it.

  3. This might actually be a lesson for equality.

    What would I think if I heard that a 45-year old cisgendered woman was proudly strutting her nudity around a school locker room in the presence of young women and girls?

    I’m not certain I’d be happy or OK with that.

    • There’s the rub. Jack’s statement “No female child should be forced to stare at male sexual equipment, whether the owner self-identifies as a woman or as Thomas the Tank Engine.” makes it out like this is different than if the children were forced to stare at female sexual equipment. If the behavior would be okay for a cisgender, then it should be okay for the trans women. If not, then not as well. Anything else is a red herring.

      • A democratic but unrealistic point of view. Yes, it is more disturbing for children to see mature sexual organs of the opposite gender. How did I guess you would be contrary on this? Male sex organs don’t belong in the ladies room. Do you want to argue that too?

        • Honestly, I don’t see a need for separate sex bathrooms.

          What’s your basis for saying that opposite gender mature sexual organs are more disturbing to children then same gender mature sexual organs? I was definitely more freaked out by giant penises as a kid than adult vaginas.

          • But had there not been seperated locker rooms – you still would have been forced to look at “giant penises” – only difference then would have been that some vaginas were thrown into the mix…

            I don’t know how you guys do it in the U.S. but in my country little boys are not send off into the men’s locker room by themselves. They either go with daddy, or if daddy’s not available they go with mommy into the women’s locker room. I don’t think there’s a law, at least not that I’m aware of, that forbids prepubescent boys from accompanying their mothers into the women’s. (Here) it’s common sense and it works. And that way little boys don’t have to be freaked out by giant penises.

            …Idk – was this too off-topic?

            • But had there not been seperated locker rooms – you still would have been forced to look at “giant penises” – only difference then would have been that some vaginas were thrown into the mix…

              Um, my point was X is more disturbing than Y. Why use Y as a reason for separation? I wasn’t saying that seeing X was necessarily good.

              I don’t know how you guys do it in the U.S. but in my country little boys are not send off into the men’s locker room by themselves. They either go with daddy, or if daddy’s not available they go with mommy into the women’s locker room.

              How would entering the room with a parent keep the kid from seeing the exposed genitalia? Is the parent supposed to shield the kid’s eyes?

              I don’t think there’s a law, at least not that I’m aware of, that forbids prepubescent boys from accompanying their mothers into the women’s.

              It’s just a generally stupid practice. A 10 year old kid doesn’t need parental supervision to change their clothes. Heck, most 5 year old kids should be able to do that. It’s unfortunately becoming more common in the U.S., but which country do you live in where it’s expected already?

  4. This is what happens when you legitimize insanity and deviance. This is also what happens when you refuse to acknowledge pedophilism as a subset of sexual perversion and thereby render children vulnerable to it. Pervert Paradise.

      • Few do openly, because the public reaction would be adverse. Yet child pornography is available as never before. Whenever a sex criminal or known sexual deviant is arrested, it’s practically a given that that individual will be found to have an extensive “library” of such material. One of the greatest myths fostered by the “gay liberation” activists is that they and pedophilism are unconnected. They are, in fact, one and the same.

        • Whenever a sex criminal or known sexual deviant is arrested, it’s practically a given that that individual will be found to have an extensive “library” of such material.

          Unless you’re defining “sex criminal or known sexual deviant” as a pedophile, then this is absolutely false.

          One of the greatest myths fostered by the “gay liberation” activists is that they and pedophilism are unconnected. They are, in fact, one and the same.

          Still idiotic.

          • Still true. You’re hiding your head under a Sahara-sized sand dune if you imagine otherwise. Why do you think this gay guy “gayly” exposed himself in front of little girls? For their enlightenment?! Don’t try to hand me that cock-and-bull line that different forms of perversion are not connected. Even THEY know better.

  5. I’m glad you said “apparently”.

    If appearances match reality, I agree with you completely.

    However, there’s a whole heap of transphobia in the community, and such tales have been known to grow in the telling and re-telling.

  6. How is this person “transgender” ? Have they been diagnosed as such? Have they had a surgery to go from male to female? If not they should stay out of the womens room.

    • Me thinks you don’t know what transgender means. This person lives her life as a women. Whether the genitalia has changed or not is kind of irrelevant.

      • It is totally relevant. If someone wants to believe they’re Napoleon, that’s fine. When they demand that others must recognize this- or that their “civil rights” are violated for this lack of recognition- that’s another. No one is under an obligation to accept the tenants of another’s obvious insanity. When that insanity threatens women and children, it cannot be tolerated. BTW: “Methinks” is one word.

        • The example makes no sense. Gender identity is a continuum. That you happen to have a brain that matches your genitalia that matches your hormones doesn’t mean it’s right to force people who don’t match into the box of your choice.

          That someone’s brain does not match their genitalia isn’t insanity.

      • I think the presence of said equipment, it’s obvious offense to those present, and its still present potential for actual use in that context are quite relevant indeed.

      • @tgt: “Me thinks you don’t know what transgender means.” It means mental illness and denial of reality. It is pure psychobabble, indulging a sick, disgusting creep who gets off on exposing himself to young girls. Like the blogger said — easy call. I would like to add that it is immoral and illegal, and he needs to see the inside of a jail cell.

        • I would like to add that it is immoral and illegal, and he needs to see the inside of a jail cell.

          The D.A. claimed that the law was ambiguous in this situation.

          • There are no laws in Washington for indecent exposure?

            I’m thinking the DA just doesn’t WANT to do anything, and is probably of the same fiber of those spinelss, gutless wonders at Evergreen that won’t do anything.

            • Being naked in a changing room and spa that allow nudity is not indecent exposure. Do you think everyone who gets naked in a changing room is guilty of indecent exposure?

                • There’s no evidence here that the person was getting a sexual thrill out of this situation or was otherwise behaving abnormally for the situation. If the behavior would be reasonable in the changing room if a child was not present, then I don’t see that it becomes deviant to do it if a child is present.

        • @tgt: “Me thinks you don’t know what transgender means.” It means mental illness and denial of reality.

          Nope. You may as well be saying that liking sports is evidence of mental illness. Everything else fails based on this false premise.

          • @tgt “Nope. You may as well be saying that liking sports is evidence of mental illness. Everything else fails based on this false premise.”

            Gender dysphoria is classified as a mental disorder. This particular manifestation of the sickness seems to be complicated by a need to flash his genitals to underage girls, as well as a pathological need for attention.

            • Denial of reality is a red herring. While some trans people do deny the differences between their brain and body, it’s just the same as an alcoholic denying their alcoholism, and it’s by no means definite.

              Gender Dysphoria is classified as a disorder in the DSM-IV, but not so by other authorities like the NHS. Also, the medical community no longer considers that it should be treated by changing what the brain thinks. You’re equivocating on the terms disorder and sickness to make trans issues look like insanity. My comments are accurate.

              • Your comments are insane. No matter what terms apologists come up with to deny perversion as a medical condition (other than psychosis) the fact that they are in utter defiance of nature and common decency remains staring you in the face. Your “red herring” is a blue whale of reality. Get your head out of “Wet Dreams Of My Father” and look around at the real world.

                    • Your “projections” would fill the Hollywood Bowl! Look back at the allegations you’ve made on this thread alone and try to “project” them on reality. You continually try to uphold a false universe that has no existence beyond your fevered dogmas. Even Marx and Nietsche would have laughed at you.

                    • People like tgt are very much in denial of reality and biological reality. Which is why Intersex people don’t want anything to do with the mental nutjobs. Intersex people get pissed when people like tgt , who like use intersex people to justify and legitimatize their mental illness.

                      As for Zoe Allen brain, just ask him about his so called 15+ yr Ph.D Ask Zoe Allen Brain about his UK Male Birth certificate and why he has a UK wife. Ask him about his so called child that he fathered prior to SRS. Ask him about the Nurse and Dr Suporn Watanyusakul that did his SRS.

                    • I think the issue here is that you are equivocating on the word “unnatural”. While not usual, things that occur are, by definition, natural (in a materialistic sense). You are mixing that with the idea anything you think is sinful or bad is unnatural. The latter relies on faith.

  7. In Washington state, the definition of sex has been redefined to mean gender identity. That’s mistake number one. Sex and gender are NOT the same thing and should not be confused. Colleen Francis, who has been undergoing low dosage estrogen treatment for two years, has been granted the gender identity of female on her driver’s license. (On the basis of low dosage treatment!!) However, she has male genitalia and had no plans to transition and is sexually attracted to women. This legal reworking of the biological state of your sex to mean just the artificial construct of your gender means that the law has opened the door to anyone who wants to go to the lightest degree necessary to be able to claim that they are a woman.

    But nudity is sexualized in this country. And naked penises have no place in segregated female spaces where we go to unclothe. Until nudity is no longer seen as sexual, what was done in that locker room is a form of sexual abuse. The fact that the police were called in shows that someone was unhappy. The girls complained about the naked man to the coach. The school attempted to protect the children (but seriously, why wouldn’t grown adult women be protected also?) from what is basically indecent exposure by putting up a curtain to prevent anything improper from happening. Then they decided that wasn’t enough, so they moved the children to a different locker room. Leaving the naked male form in the female space.

    The first time a rape survivor is in a room with Colleen’s naked male penis, the survivor will trigger and there will be damage to the survivor. Guaranteed. And Everett seems to have a history of some really creepy people attempting to enter their locker room space by dressing in women’s clothing.

    Denying that people have different biological equipment just because they have a dream to be a different gender is pointless. If you have the equipment of a particular biological sex, you should be in the sex segregated space of your biological equipment. While I will grant every consideration to her chosen gender outside of the sex segregated space, I will not tolerate having naked penises parading near my person or in my child’s face. She is not female. She is woman. If she has reassignment surgery and becomes a female in form, then access to the appropriate spaces can be granted. Her rights for inclusion should not trump every other female’s rights to safety and security. Washington state needs to change that definition of sex back to the biological basis pretty fast before something really tragic happens.

    • I totally agree with you on that one. Trans have a hatred of Biological science and they have a history of mixing sex and gender. The fact is, Colleen Francis is a MAN with a sex perverted Fetish who has no intention of SRS. If he tried that in any other state, he would be in prison facing a long sentence and a mandatory sex offender registry.

    • But nudity is sexualized in this country. And naked penises have no place in segregated female spaces where we go to unclothe. Until nudity is no longer seen as sexual, what was done in that locker room is a form of sexual abuse.

      It’s like you don’t believe gay people exist.

      The fact that the police were called in shows that someone was unhappy.

      That some people don’t like X doesn’t mean that X is bad. Say that this was a black woman instead of someone with female identity. If your arguments apply to this woman, they’d apply for a black woman as well.

      The girls complained about the naked man to the coach.

      Garbage in, garbage out. What naked man?

      The first time a rape survivor is in a room with Colleen’s naked male penis, the survivor will trigger and there will be damage to the survivor. Guaranteed.

      You, my friend, are an idiot. The generalization is false, but it’s also irrelevant. There is likelihood of nudity in changing rooms. If someone triggers based on nudity, they probably shouldn’t be using changing rooms.

      Denying that people have different biological equipment just because they have a dream to be a different gender is pointless.

      Strawman. Whose denying the different equipment?

      If you have the equipment of a particular biological sex, you should be in the sex segregated space of your biological equipment.

      Why?

      While I will grant every consideration to her chosen gender outside of the sex segregated space, I will not tolerate having naked penises parading near my person or in my child’s face.

      Strawman. Where’s the parading and putting them in a child’s face? Do you tolerate naked vaginas parading near your person or in your child’s face?

      Her rights for inclusion should not trump every other female’s rights to safety and security. Washington state needs to change that definition of sex back to the biological basis pretty fast before something really tragic happens.

      How are female’s rights to safety and security being violated here?

  8. I know this conversation subdued about a month ago, but I just thought I’d add my perspective to this discussion considering my investment of time.

    I don’t have well-detailed analysis to contribute at the moment. I could form one, but frankly I’d like to say out of the politics of this debate.

    However, I will provide my initial reaction to the controversy, the article, and the comments in the hopes that it will begin to redeem my community.

    I am a transgender woman (Male to Female). I am eighteen, I have friends and family, I attend classes at a California State University–the point here being I am reasonably sane. I was diagnosed with the now obsolete Gender Identity Disorder (GID) as well as the still recognized condition of Gender Dysphoria in 2011. I have undergone Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for the past sixteen months, and ongoing.

    I am working towards receiving training to be an advocate for the social inclusion of transgender Americans in modern society. Consequently, if I recognize an injustice committed against an individual in the trans community, I try to speak out in defense of such a person. However, if a transgender person is directly involved in an ethical conflict it does not necessarily mean the transgender individual has conduct his or her self in a good, right, or virtuous manner. Which brings me to my point.

    I find the actions of Colleen Francis to be completely unethical. Though I am a transgender individual and advocate, I still consider the manner in which Francis acted detestable, inappropriate, and immoral. Francis literally gives a bad name to the transgender community and the LGBTQ community as a whole.

    Just know we are not all unethical people. Please understand that Francis is not representative of the entire trans community. I can personally confirm that not all publicly identifying transgender individuals have the intention to harm anyone, especially young children whose minds are at a critical point in development. I have the utmost sympathy for the victims of this indecency.

    If you have questions or rebuttals for me, I’d be happy to engage.

    To those who don’t believe in the legitimacy or validity of transgender people, I respect your beliefs. I have experienced Dysphoria first hand thus leading me to believe the condition to be credible. However I have nothing against you or your beliefs if your morals lead you to a different opinion then mine. But please avoid personal attacks on my gender, I have enough of that in my life as it is.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy comment.

  9. Necroposting I know, but now a more complete and accurate description of events is available.

    Source (not unbiased) http://www.transadvocate.com/colleen-francis-and-the-infamous-evergreen-state-college-incident_n_10765.htm

    Here’s the nugget of truth to the story: two teens did claim to see Colleen Francis nude while in the Evergreen College sauna.

    Here’s what may not have not heard:

    The sauna area was off limits to the two teens.
    Unless one specifically tries to see inside the sauna, you can’t view the people inside the sauna.
    Colleen Francis AND her cisgender female friend were using the sauna together. They were sitting there talking.
    At no point did Francis act to expose herself to children.
    At no point was Francis walking around nude in the area where children were.

    So, the actual story is that two 17 year olds went into an area they weren’t allowed, attempted to view the people in the sauna and saw Francis. The rest of what you’ve probably heard about this incident is, at this point, an urban myth.

    My conversation with Todd Sprague, the Executive Director of College Relations was preceded by an email exchange which immediately brought into question everything I thought I know about this incident. Sprague wrote, “Unfortunately many news reports and online commentaries have chosen to take a sensational, and often inaccurate, path in characterizing what has and has not happened at Evergreen.” He went on to clarify, “On the occasion that sparked the media coverage, the individual in question was using the sauna, an area generally off limits to swim team members.” Sprague also made it clear that this was “one incident that occurred in September 2012, not multiple incidents” and that Francis was “covered up with a towel on the way to the sauna and when leaving it. ”

    I had more questions, so I called Sprague and recorded the call

    Disclaimer: I occasionally contribute to this unashamedly advocate site. OTOH we give primary sources including recordings of witnesses.

    • Thanks so much for the update. As always, the ethics commentary here is based on accounts as they are known at the time, and the commentary regarding that account remains valid (unless it isn’t) whether the scenario proves accurate or not.

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