Thursday, January 26, 2023

'Horror story' about naked trans woman in women's locker room turns out to be hot air, lies, and basic transphobic fearmongering

There is a controversy brewing  in Santee, CA involving a young girl who claimed she got scared because she saw a naked trans woman at a local YMCA. This is what the young lady, Rebecca Phillips, said happened during a city council meeting on January 11:

 "As I was showering after my workout, I saw a naked male in the women's locker room," she said. "I immediately went back into the shower terrified and hid behind heir flimsy excuse for a curtain until he was gone." 
Phillips said that YMCA management later told her that that person was transgender and allowed to use the women's locker room, and that Philips was not in any danger. Under state law, people must be allowed to use public facilities, such as restrooms or changing areas, that align with their gender identity. 

"The fact that we are now tailoring our privacy policies and bathroom laws around transgenders, ignoring the blatant threat to safety that this poses is obscene," Philips added 

 Naturally, many folks flocked to her side, protesting vigorously at the YMCA and flooding Twitter and other social media sites with claims about women being the victims of "trans predators" and how unfair it was for "women to have to be subjected to seeing penises in women's spaces."

 According to The Daily Beast, the right-wing pipeline heavily pushed Phillips' story and made her a right-wing star, even to the point of telling her story on Fox News:

Phillips’ comments galvanized an existing network of right wing and far-right groups in greater San Diego, according to local disinformation researcher and journalist Brooke Binkowski.

“There’s a very strong streak of far-right ideology here that has been here for generations,” she told The Daily Beast. Santee specifically has an established reputation of extremism, earning it the moniker “Klantee.” 

The city has tried multiple times over the years to rehabilitate its image, most recently after news coverage of a man shopping at a local Vons wearing a Klan-style hood followed by a separate incident of a Santee Food 4 Less customer wearing a swastika face mask. “The QAnon-friendly crowd and their adjacent groups have been demonizing trans people and throwing around the ‘pedo’ and ‘groomer’ labels for years now,” Binkowski said.

The Daily Beast also pointed out how some right-wing entities added inaccurate details to her story:

A local news station that has been linked to the right, KUSI, picked up the story a day after SanteeParents4Choice, running it online with the headline “Santee YMCA allows naked man to use women’s locker room with underage girls.” 

. . . Phillips herself also appeared on KUSI, this time expanding the scope of her attack against the YMCA to its gender-inclusive policies for sleepaway camps. (According to the San Diego YMCA policy, sleeping arrangements and group assignments should “reflect each child’s identified gender” and staff will “not disclose information regarding a camper’s identity without their express consent.”) In quick succession, the story traveled from KUSI to the New York Post and Daily Mail. A game of telephone played out in the process, with Mail, OAN, and The Daily Wire reporting that Phillips had seen a penis in the locker room.

People were so quick to exploit the incident that they didn't try to investigate the story.  And to be honest, I don't think they even cared. They were so busy pushing a narrative of  women and girls being targeted that they conveniently ignored the following details:

1. The transgender woman in the middle of the madness, 66-year-old Christynne Wood, had no contact with Phillips at all. In fact, she didn't even know about the incident until a friend alerted her about it days later.  

2. Phillips verified that she only saw Wood from the back. She didn't see any frontal nudity. But that is moot because of point three

3. Wood had gender-affirming surgery in 2016. As much as I hate to put it in such vulgar terms, it needs to be said. There was no penis present in this incident. 

On Wednesday, Wood spoke out at a city council meeting, defending herself and calling out those who vilified her:

"The amount of organized hatred and lies vilifying and dehumanizing me and other members of the transgender community has truly been disgusting and disheartening," said Wood, a mother and grandmother, who told the audience she has fully transitioned from male to female. "I am a threat to no one," she added, "And the last year I have been a member of the Y, children have attended summer camp, and have been with their parents and grandparents in the women's locker room with me and there has never ever been an incident ever!"

According to The San Diego Times, this is Wood's side of the story:

“I did my water aerobics workout as I always do. I went in with the rest of my aqua sisters. We showered, I dried off, I dressed, I hugged my instructor. I hugged other women and said to all of you: I love you so much. See you next year, and I took off for Palm Springs to visit a friend. That’s it.” She never saw the “terrified” naked girl, who told Tucker Carlson on Tuesday she rushed back to the separate showers at the sight of Wood’s backside.

Wood also has a plethora of supporters who have spoken up for her and stood by her. But the sad realization is no matter how many times the truth is told, there are still going to be people determined to spin this into a hysterical narrative against the trans community.  And let's not get distracted by anyone trying to "pick sense from this nonsense." The fact of the matter is that a trans woman minding her own business was attacked and vilified simply because of who she was (not anything she did) and the prejudices of some very ugly people. Their need to make her into a monster and add false details - either deliberately or as by-products of their bigoted minds - is the problem here. 

THEY are the monsters, not Wood nor any other trans person simply attempting to live their lives.

Editor's note - Someone brought something to my attention which I want to solicit your answers about.  The young lady, Rebecca Phillips, said she saw Christynne Wood from the back. If that is the case, how did she KNOW that Wood was a trans woman in the first place? 


1 comment:

JoeBuddha said...

I'm thinking one of her anti-trans friends told her who this was, and she just threw a fit when she found out this lady was in the locker room.