Dawn Dalpe, a
transgender woman living in South Philadelphia, has filed a
complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human
Relations alleging that she has been barred from all
10 regional branches of the YMCA, the Philadelphia
Gay News reported Friday.
Dalpe, 38, states
in her complaint that she joined the Christian Street
YMCA in mid October to use the swimming pool but was barred
after only three visits when executive director
Michelle Stevenson demanded Dalpe's "proof of gender."
When Dalpe returned with an affidavit from her doctor
certifying her biological sex as female, Stevenson grabbed
the paper out of her hand and told her to leave or
else she would call the police.
"I was afraid I'd
be harassed even more if I didn't bring in the
affidavit," Dalpe told the PGN. "But when
[Stevenson] grabbed it out of my hands, that was too much. I
lost my composure. I didn't say anything threatening
to her. But I did tell her she should be ashamed of
herself for violating someone's privacy in such a rude
and cavalier way."
thereafter, Dalpe received a letter informing her that she
was barred from all 10 Philadelphia-area YMCA
branches. Her complaint went on say that Stevenson
violated her civil rights by asking for proof of her
gender and that she violated a city-wide ordinance
protecting transgender individuals from discrimination
in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Omoiye Kinney, a
spokeswoman for the YMCA of Philadelphia and vicinity,
insisted Dalpe's membership was terminated due to her
threatening behavior toward Stevenson, not her
"The YMCA of
Philadelphia and vicinity is open to all," Kinney said
in a statement. "We don't discriminate on any basis that's
covered by law." (The Advocate)