News

Mother’s fury as private swim school bans her nine-year-old son from the female changing room – and tells the same-sex family to ‘bring a man’ to take him into the men’s facilities


A mother has revealed her anger at being told her son, nine, isn’t allowed to get changed alongside her in the female changing rooms at his private swim school. 

Speaking to MailOnline anonymously in a bid to highlight a scenario she says many women with young sons face, she says she was shocked to be told that her son would have to use the male changing rooms alone. 

She claims when she responded that she wasn’t comfortable with her Year 5 son getting undressed away from her, she was told to ‘bring a man’ to accompany him in future.

The parent, who was married but is now in a same-sex relationship, said she’d happily taken her son to the £14-a-session lessons, which take place at a school which has separate male and female changing rooms, until the incident at the weekend. 

The furious mother told MailOnline that a manager told her and her son that he would no longer be allowed to use the female changing room at the Hertfordshire swim school because he was 'over eight'

The furious mother told MailOnline that a manager told her and her son that he would no longer be allowed to use the female changing room at the Hertfordshire swim school because he was ‘over eight’

CHANGING ROOMS: WHAT ARE THE RULES? 

Last year, Britain's equality watchdog ruled that schools are legally obliged to provide separate changing rooms according to biological sex

Last year, Britain’s equality watchdog ruled that schools are legally obliged to provide separate changing rooms according to biological sex

Many swimming and leisure facilities across the UK have increasingly opted for mixed changing areas in recent decades to allow parents with young children to stay together when getting changed.

However, parents attending leisure activities at school facilities will often only find changing rooms that are designated male or female.

Britain’s equality watchdog ruled in September 2023 that schools are legally obliged to provide separate changing rooms according to biological sex. 

Ahead of a review on how schools should deal with transgender pupils, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said teachers who allow children to use toilets and changing rooms according to their chosen ‘gender identity’ rather than their biological sex risk breaching the law and could face legal action.

She says the swimming lessons provider in Hertfordshire won’t allow boys in the female changing area after they turn eight. 

‘We were told that under no circumstances was my son allowed into the female changing area, and when we suggested one of us would take him into the male changing area, that wasn’t allowed either,’ she explained. 

The mother told MailOnline that it’s the first time she’s faced the issue and that she’s never had a problem elsewhere including using public toilets. 

She said UK swimming and leisure providers should provide alternative facilities if they don’t want boys in the female changing areas.

Reading past stories about children being sexually assaulted or raped in changing rooms because they were unsupervised has made her determined that her son would remain by her side in such instances, she added. 

‘I’m not prepared to let any of my sons go unattended in a changing room where I can’t see them when they’re getting undressed. Anyone can walk into the grounds, and into the changing rooms.’ 

When asked if alternative facilities could be provided, the swim school manager said there weren’t any – and that the two women would have to ‘bring a male’ next time.

The mother told MailOnline: ‘He’s nine, he’s not into girls or gawping. As much as we want to, he just wants to get dried and dressed and out of the changing rooms.

‘He’s not a confident, outgoing boy and he still heavily relies on his parents. Of course, he can get himself dried and changed but I don’t want him doing that in front of a load of strangers without us.’ 

The family have now terminated their nine-year-old’s swimming contract as a result – but face not also being able to take their other younger sons to the same venue, because the nine-year-old would have to wait outside.  

She says having strictly segregated changing rooms for men and women feels outdated, saying: ‘It’s a common problem nationwide, and it needs to be addressed’. 

Many leisure facilities have increasingly opted for mixed changing areas in recent years to tackle such issues – but swimming schools that use school facilities often only provide changing rooms designated male or female.

Britain’s equality watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), ruled in September that schools are legally obliged to provide separate changing rooms according to biological sex. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that teachers that allow children to use toilets and changing rooms according to their chosen ‘gender identity’ rather than their biological sex risk breaching the law and could face legal action.

The issue of segregated toilets in schools remains a hot topic: in August last year, five teenage girls wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to keep single-sex toilets in schools to guarantee female pupils' safety and dignity. (File image)

The issue of segregated toilets in schools remains a hot topic: in August last year, five teenage girls wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to keep single-sex toilets in schools to guarantee female pupils’ safety and dignity. (File image) 

In August last year, five teenage girls wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to keep single-sex toilets in schools to guarantee female pupils’ safety and dignity.

In an open letter, the students – who are aged between 13 and 15 – called on Rishi Sunak to tackle the issue head on when the Government issues its long-awaited transgender guidance to schools.

The girls – who used only their first names to sign their letter for fear of a backlash from trans activists – said single-sex facilities were an ‘essential safeguarding feature’ of schools.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button