THE CHURCH MILITANT
Ephesians 5:11-"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them". This Christian News Blog maintains a one stop resource of current news and reports of its own related to church, moral, spiritual, and related political issues, plus articles, and postings from other online discernment ministries, and media which share the aims to obey the biblical commands to shed light on and refute error, heresy, apostasy, cults, and spiritual abuse.
Saturday, November 23, 2019
YMCA'S HISTORY OF SUPPORTING, CELEBRATING TRANSGENDERS, PERMITTING THEM IN LOCKER ROOMS OF OPPOSITE BIOLOGICAL SEX
VITAGLIANO: “It is appalling that a once-Christian organization like the YMCA has now become so morally bankrupt that it has adopted such a misguided policy," Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president for theAmerican Family Association, told LifeSiteNews. "It is clear not only from the Bible but nature itself that there are only two genders – male and female. The secularist rush to discard the binary nature of humanity is proof that the lunatics are in charge of the asylum."
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Let’s look at the numbers. Across the country, there are approximately 950,000 children and teens enrolled in YMCA summer camps. There are ten times that many U.S. adults—9 million—who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
These statistics may suggest that at least one child enrolled in any given summer camp has a relative or primary caregiver who identifies as LGBTQ. And perhaps, at least one youth enrolled in your community’s summer camp currently identifies—or in the future may identify—as LGBTQ.
Sobering research Opens a new window reveals 30% of LGBTQ youths have attempted suicide, with LGBTQ youth being nearly five times more likely to have attempted suicide in comparison to heterosexual youth.
So how can youth development professionals create a safe and welcoming environment for all children and teens? And how can we better equip staff to be both curious and knowledgeable about all communities, including LGBTQ communities?
Recognize that every child is unique in their self-identities, across all dimensions of diversity. No two people are the same. Our perspectives and experiences are influenced by how we identify—and we are ever-changing as we age, grow and develop. This is especially true for children. Take time to get to know each child’s unique self-identities. Include LGBTQ youth in the conversation and ask what will help them to feel safe and included.
Be an ally. Support and celebrate openly LGBTQ staff, youth and families.
Work to confound gender-based assumptions regarding toys, activities and attire. Use gender-neutral language and invite all children to participate in all activities. Avoid assuming that boys prefer to play sports and girls prefer to make arts-and-crafts.
Ensure all campers and staff have access to the facilities aligned with their gender identity and comfort within facility and resource limitations.
Provide training opportunities to foster education, awareness and knowledge-building related to LGBTQ communities and best practices for inclusion.
Use gender-neutral (or self-identified) pronouns when referencing guardians/parents, partners, families and significant others. When creating registration forms, camper communications and other messaging, consider that not every camper is raised in the same type of home. Being sensitive to language and aiming to respect the way individuals self-identify is a critical step to becoming an inclusive camp.
Lift up stories of LGBTQ inclusion in trainings, marketing and camp activities. Do your camp marketing or training materials include people from all walks of life, including same-sex couples, families and transgender individuals?
Celebrate Pride Month! June is the official month, but pride can be celebrated year-round! Communicate early and often that your camp is a safe space for LGBTQ youth, families and communities.
Build partnerships with local organizations that serve the LGBTQ community, such as houses of worship, health care centers and educational institutions. These relationships may provide support beyond the scope of Y services and also help your staff become more educated and welcoming over time.
At the Y, we believe that in a diverse world, we are stronger when we are inclusive and our doors are open to all—this includes LGBTQ identified individuals and communities.
-nov-20; republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20 to honor the people killed by anti-transgender violence and celebrate the community members who are still with us. The Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and Austin Black Pride will be holding this year’s ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 7-9pm in the TownLake YMCA gymnasium, followed by a mixer and a community conversation.
"This event is meant to take a moment and acknowledge those that we have lost throughout the year, while also uplifting and celebrating the members of the community that are with us today," said Sheldon Darnell, Co-Founder/President of Austin Black Pride, and Rocky Lane, Board President of TENT, in a shared statement. "While we know one evening is not going to bring about an end to senseless violence it's still important to create a space for us to not only mourn, but to show our resilience both collectively and individually."
For the YMCA, opening our doors for the Trans Day of Remembrance is an opportunity to show support for trans Y members and staff and their families, as well as welcome new people and the wider community into our space, said Rev. Erin Walter, TownLake YMCA Community Engagement Director.
“Trans members, staff, and community members have long been a vital part of the YMCA,” Rev. Walter said. “We hope this gathering helps show trans youth that they are welcome here, underscore to trans elders that they are seen and valued members of our Y programs, and show the whole community that the Y is for all.”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is both a solemn time – mourning the loss of trans people who have been killed, most of whom are black trans women – and a time to come together in support, celebration, and community care.
“The Day of Remembrance was, historically, the only place in Austin that trans folks regularly gathered,” said Katy Koonce, a longtime YMCA member, nonbinary activist, musician and psychotherapist who predominantly serves the trans community. “There was fear, and there was shame in the early years, and it was a hard sell. But the turnout in the last 10 years or so and the crucial involvement of people of color has been a leap forward.”
Nearby offsite event parking is available west of the facility, contributed by Y neighbors Austin High, Austin Pets Alive, and West Austin Youth Association (WAYA), so that Y members are still able to park in the TownLake lot for general facility use. Basketball players are invited to try the courts at the Southwest YMCA during this time.
YMCA of Austin board member Danielle Skidmore, an engineer, parent, and longtime Y member, said: “As a YMCA board member and a member of the transgender community, when my friends at the Transgender Education Network of Texas told me that the TownLake YMCA was going to host the 2019 TDOR, it made me so happy and proud to be part of both communities.”
In the long run, supporters hope increased visibility for the Transgender Day of Remembrance will lead to decreased transphobia and anti-trans violence, saving the lives of some of the most marginalized members of our community.
For more information, Spanish language information, or to register for the 2019 Transgender Day of Remembrance, see the Facebook event.
In a scenario that’s becoming increasingly common, when a YMCA parent complained that a male teenager was changing in the women's lockers, Y staff learned that the boy was a self-declared "transgender" person and defended the boy's use of the girls' showers.
Malone assured Chicagoland residents that despite its policy to allow the opposite sex in bathrooms, Y members are safe because "the expanded inclusion policy doesn’t give anyone a new opportunity to behave inappropriately."
The controversial policy, which affects all Y programs, including children’s camps and gym and pool facilities, applies to 21 Chicago area YMCAs, serving 140,000 people. It is not known whether Chicago's smaller, independent YMCAs will follow suit.
George Williams, a 22 year-old department store worker, gathered 11 friends to organize the first YMCA in 1844 as a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men living on the dangerous streets of London. Its mission for more than 170 years has been to "put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."
“It is appalling that a once-Christian organization like the YMCA has now become so morally bankrupt that it has adopted such a misguided policy," Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president for the American Family Association, told LifeSiteNews. "It is clear not only from the Bible but nature itself that there are only two genders – male and female. The secularist rush to discard the binary nature of humanity is proof that the lunatics are in charge of the asylum."
American Values President Gary Bauer said he blames a recent spate of bathroom attacks on the Obama Administration. "The tragedy of political correctness when it comes to the Obama Administration's attempts to force changes across the country will be experienced by the weakest among us," Bauer told LifeSiteNews. "Already, we are hearing stories of abuse in bathrooms, as women and children are alone in closed locations with those who have the potential to hurt them."
Bauer concluded, "Common sense protections need to stay in place, so that the primary goal of public safety is not lost to the social engineering goals of those who do not care who is hurt by their policies."
Vitagliano added, "Christians should certainly be compassionate towards those who are confused or otherwise struggling over their sexual or gender identity, but other people have rights too. For example, many parents and many young people prefer that someone born male not be allowed to undress around girls. Why don’t those feelings count?”
The Chicago Tribune reports that YMCA policy is to address members by the name and pronoun they choose, "regardless of any sex listed on identification." Y staff are being trained by LGBTQ "experts."
In 2015, Pierce and Kitsap counties near Seattle adopted policies allowing members to choose whatever shower or changing room they wish, "no questions asked," but after receiving 1,000 complaints, slightly modified the policy to apply only to adult YMCAs.
Jill explained that giving access to children in intimate private facilities increases the chance of sexual abuse. She also pointed out that the policy makes adults uncomfortable, too.
“Seeing a naked man in my locker room is sexual harassment for me,” Jill said. “That’s the way I feel about it.”
Michelle Larue, senior vice president of marketing with the Pierce and Kitsap YMCA, told KTTH that people who feel uncomfortable showering and changing clothes alongside the opposite sex may use one of the YMCA’s private rooms. But that is exactly the policy that transgenders have sued school districts over, claiming that "separate but equal" facilities are unconstitutional and discriminatory.
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
A mom at a suburban YMCA recently reported to employees that she was unnerved to find a teenager who appeared to be male using the women's locker room.
But YMCA staff later learned the teen was transgender and determined the youth had every right to access the women's facilities.
"From (the mother's) perspective, there was a man in the locker room," said Rae Ulrich, senior vice president of marketing for the YMCA of Metro Chicago. "But there wasn't. There was a transgender individual in the locker room."
This situation and a few similar scenarios have spurred the YMCA to craft guidelines for accommodating transgender members and guests, which include allowing them access to restrooms and changing areas that match their gender identity.
The protocol was explained in a letter posted Wednesday on the organization's website. The YMCA of Metro Chicago said it also sent the letter to its 140,000 members at its 21 Chicagoland centers. The guidelines will cover all YMCA of Metro Chicago programs and services, from gym and pool facilities to summer camps and various classes. The policies wouldn't apply to some smaller, independent YMCA's in the Chicago area.
"We recognize our commitment in support of the rights of all individuals can cause some to feel uncomfortable," says the letter, signed by Dick Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Chicago. "Again, it's our goal for all members to thrive at the Y, and this is why we will do our best to support each of you while maintaining an environment that reflects the inclusive values we share."
Any patron — regardless of gender identity — can opt to use a single-stall or private area when available. YMCA officials say they're also working to add private spaces to all locations.
The YMCA's new guidelines come amid a fervent national debate on transgender rights, particularly over access to public bathrooms and locker rooms.
A few days later, the Obama administration issued a directive that all public schools treat transgender students in a manner that correlates with their gender identity, regardless of the sex indicated on their education records or identification. Nearly two dozen states have sued the federal government over that directive.
Locally, a landmark case continues in northwest suburban Palatine after the U.S. Department of Education found Township High School District 211 violated Title IX when a transgender student wasn't permitted to use the girls locker room. The district then gave her access to the locker room, while also installing privacy stalls, but a group of parents and students in May filed a federal lawsuit against the Education Department and school district, arguing it created an intimidating and hostile environment for other students.
With dueling laws and lawsuits in the news, YMCA officials said some members had inquired about their organization's stance on transgender access to public facilities.
Employees are directed to refer to patrons by the name and pronoun they desire, regardless of any sex listed on identification. Staff members are being trained on best practices with the help of experts from the LGBTQ nonprofit Center on Halsted and the Gender and Sex Development Program at Lurie Children's Hospital.
When asked about the guidelines, people at the Elmhurst YMCA on Wednesday night had mixed reactions.
Greg Vanderlaan, 66, who said he has been a member since the mid-1980s, called the guidelines a "big mistake."
"Locker room access should be based on physiology," he said.
"How do you explain this to very young children?" said Joe Idaszak, 84, who also said he's gone to the YMCA for three decades.
But 23-year-old Jake Walters said it didn't really have an impact on him.
"It's kind of a topic people are talking about," he said. "It doesn't surprise me. It doesn't bother me."
The battleground for transgender rights has included other nationwide gyms and fitness centers.
A Michigan woman filed a lawsuit against Planet Fitness in 2015 when the national chain revoked her membership alleging she repeatedly complained about a transgender woman in the women's changing area; the gym has said its patrons are allowed to use the public facilities of their choice based on "sincere self-reported gender identity." A trial court judge dismissed the case in January, but the plaintiff appealed.
A YMCA in the Tacoma, Wash., area in April 2015 created a policy that allowed transgender patrons to use public facilities matching their gender identity but didn't communicate this to the general membership, and backlash ensued when the news spread unofficially, according to The News Tribune in Tacoma. The YMCA then revised its policy to allow transgender patrons this kind of access only at adult facilities but not at family facilities, which LGBT advocates decried as discriminatory. By the end of 2015, that YMCA returned to its original policy of allowing bathroom and locker room use based on gender identity.
The YMCA — the Young Men's Christian Association — was founded in London in 1844, and the organization's goal was "the spiritual and mental improvement of young men by any means in accordance with the Scriptures," according to the nonprofit's website. The YMCA is not affiliated with the YWCA. Each organization has its own rules and leadership.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago formed in 1858.
"The YMCA is at the heart and soul of growing up in Chicago," the website says, "and will be so for years to come."