Our local YMCA has been an integral part of our homeschool experience for many years. Starting in kindergarten with my oldest, she attended a fabulous PE/Swim program called Homezone (later called Swim and Gym) to satisfy her PE requirements. It was awesome! An hour in the gym playing fun games with a big group of kids and an energetic coach. Then off to the pool for 30 mins of swim instruction followed by 30 mins of free swim. We looked forward to it EVERY week and loved it for years.
All of my kids have looked forward to finally starting kindergarten and being old enough for this program. It became a right of passage. This year my 5 yo was so very, very excited to finally be old enough and join her siblings for swim and gym.
And then....the unthinkable happened. Truly! It's unthinkable. I cannot believe that I even have to put "pen to paper" to describe the situation; a situation that would have been truly unimaginable just a few years ago. And yet, here in our lovely, ever progressive state of WA I have to say that it really just follows suit.
So here's what happened: Many months ago I began to hear things about the YMCA in southern counties of WA experimenting with a policy that would allow transgender individuals to use any bathroom of their choosing (ie their chosen gender rather than their biological one). OH MY GOODNESS! Doesn't anyone see the problem with a policy like this? What is to stop a man who "feels like a woman" today from entering a women's locker room and committing crime? At the very least everyone would be extremely uncomfortable!
Yeah, so I kept my ears open to see how that would work out and what would become of such a lunatic policy. Time went by, the policy stuck. Shocker. I began to wonder if/when our YMCA would dare to adopt such a ludicrous thing. So I took it upon myself to ask the front desk about it and here's the response I got: "Oh yes. We are aware of that policy. In fact we began to implement that policy several months ago."
So, I could spend hours giving you all the reasons why that sent me into a fuming heap of Angry Mama Bear Madness.But let me give you the abbreviated version.
Ok, this made me mad because:
1. My children were no longer safe at the Y. Do I really have to explain this? If I do than the world is farther gone than I had even imagined. This policy robs women and children of privacy and safety.
2. Why does the entire Y population have to bend over backwards to accommodate a infinitesimally small portion of the population to support their very personal and nontraditional belief that they are living in the wrong kind of body? Can't we just let them use the family restrooms and call it good? Surely there are more logical, cost effective, less punishing and less intrusive means to address the "concern".
3. The YMCA did not communicate such an incredibly far reaching policy change to its members. Indeed, they made efforts to conceal the change. I mean, this is huge. It should have been written in big red letters on the front door. There should have been notices in the locker rooms, it should have been emailed to every member, and it should have been snail mailed to every member's home. Nobody should have to find out, like I did, that transgenders and/or transgender IMPOSTORS have been potentially sharing a bathroom with my kids for an unidentified period of time, with virtually no communication to the membership. Wow, talk about poor public relations. INFURIATING!
4. The YMCA professes to be a Christian organization. Really? And then they become the banner carriers for this kind of junk?
5. I no longer feel comfortable giving my money to an organization that not only allows this kind of thing, but promotes it while simultaneously hiding it from members. REALLY NOT COOL.
So, I understand that this is now state law, and it applies to any business OR PUBLIC SCHOOL with eight or more employees Now, is that totally arbitrary or what? Eight employees? Why? UGH! Washington, you drive me inSANE!
6. Maybe the worst part of this WHOLE thing is that none of it was voted on by the public. It was initiated by the WA State commission of human rights. There was an effort in the state legislature to overturn the rule and give each business the opportunity to establish their OWN rules about who uses what bathroom, giving them the option to deal with the transgender community in a way that best served the establishment ant their clientele.
NOPE. That got voted down. Thanks again WA!
So what did this mean for my family? It meant pulling my kids out of their PE, Swimming, Basketball, Karate etc. It meant we no longer have access to the cardio and weight lifting, the family bingo or the Healthy Kids day. We no longer have an outlet for family fitness time. Personally, it means that my "alone" time was yanked away from me. I loved going to the Y for some quiet workout time. And a few years back it was an integral part of my weight loss program. (I lost 30 pounds after baby 4).
The Y was a huge part of our lives! We spent a lot of time there. IT was a hard choice to cut off our association there. But like I said, sometimes you have to draw a line and say, "no, now you've gone too far."
Since then, I have scrambled to find alternative activities for the kids. Two of them did a 7 week basket ball clinic (that I had to drive 40 minutes either way with all five kids in rush hour traffic), my son is now doing a city soccer clinic, two of the girls are now doing a 12 week gymnastics unit, my oldest did 8 weeks at cross fit, we go running at the park together and my husband take the kids out to play tennis or go biking when ever he can. So, in other words....we are working hard to fill the void that the Y has left in our homeschool. It takes more time and more money. But at least I know my kids are safe and my conscience is clean.
One resource that has helped us fill the void is a great website called GROKKER. You will find a huge library of fitness material including articles, forums, workouts, recipes, and tracking tools. We really liked doing the Yoga for Kids series. They also have cardio, kickboxing, weight training, barre, meditation, and more. It's a great way to fit in some physical activity in the middle of your school day.
I joined that site when it was really new and there was no fee. I think there is a monthly fee now. But even, so, I totally recommend it! I use it a lot!
Another promising resource that I am considering for our family is called Family Time Fitness. It's currently on sale at the Homesschool Buyers Co-op HERE. I think it would be really fun to do with a co-op!