Dunedin mayor calls comments about transgender people at swimming pool ‘disgusting’

New Zealand

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins was unimpressed with comments raised by nurse and feminist Jennifer Scott during the council meeting. Photo/Otago Daily Times, File

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins called a feminist’s comments about the transgender community “unpleasant and repugnant” after she was submitted to City Council.

Dunedin nurse and feminist Jennifer Scott was concerned about trans women using the women’s changing rooms at Moana Pool.

She asked the council to ensure that gender-designated private areas, such as locker rooms and washrooms, are maintained in all council-funded or owned facilities.

After his submission, Hawkins, who appeared shaken, told Scott that his submission was “hard to listen to, and it was unpleasant if not repugnant to say the least”.

Allegations that Moana Pool staff were directing
Allegations that Moana Pool staff were directing “anatomically male” guests to use the women-only changing rooms were raised at the board meeting. Photo/ODT, File

He told her he was proud to be part of an organization that supported groups in the community and understood who they were.

Hawkins said Scott’s lyrics were harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.

Councilor Lee Vandervis asked for a point of order and said the forum was not an appropriate place for Hawkins’ personal opinions.

He said it was the council’s job to listen.

Councilor Lee Vandervis.  Photo/ODT, File
Councilor Lee Vandervis. Photo/ODT, File

After a small argument between the two, Deputy Mayor Christine Garey did not confirm Vandervis’ point of view, causing him to laugh.

Councilman Jules Radich told Scott he was unaware Moana Pool staff were directing “anatomically male” patrons to use the women-only changing rooms, and said he agreed the use was inappropriate.

He asked how long the practice had been taking place.

Scott said transgender women were directed to the family locker rooms, but if a staff member was unaware of the situation, customers would sometimes enter the women’s locker room.

Councilor Jules Radich.  Photo/ODT, File
Councilor Jules Radich. Photo/ODT, File

Hawkins continued to interrupt the exchange and asked if the counselor had a question, and Radich ended by asking if Moana Pool should establish clear protocols for staff and customers for using gender-specific facilities, which Scott said. accepted.

A movement opposing transgender access to women’s facilities has existed for at least four years. Those who share the view are sometimes known as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, or Terfs.

It was coined by radical feminist Viv Smythe in 2008, solely to distinguish between radical feminists who support trans or neutral trans people and those who wish to exclude trans women from their feminism.

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