There are times when good intentions inadvertently go too far.

This was the case in Vernon recently when it was reported that two teenage girls unwantedly observed a person with a penis in the female change room. The transgender individual was putting on a swim suit in a change area with which they identified.

When a complaint was filed, a city spokesperson reportedly told the concerned uncle of one of the girls that pool staff could not dictate what area the adult swimmer could change in based on their choice of gender (because under law you can’t discriminate).

It’s unfortunate because there was an easy solution: Use the private change stalls to avoid the problem altogether.

Why would anyone with a penis, no matter what gender they identify with, think it is okay to strip naked in front of teenage girls? That shows no respect for the girls’ rights not to be exposed to nudity if they don’t want to. 

Gender diversity is recognized under the Human Rights Act as something you cannot discriminate against, which is understandable and largely supported in this day and age. But the above case raises questions about how the rights of gender identification ought to be balanced with the rights of minors you don’t want to subject to indecent exposure. A lack of guidelines in this regard theoretically opens the door for practically anyone to use the gender argument to waltz into a female (or male or transgender) change room to ogle others in various stages of undress.

Obviously more has to be done to change this loophole and protect people’s privacy. Many facilities now have private change rooms which are necessary and should be used. Some facilities even have a policy prohibiting nudity in open areas, which makes sense.

It is a very unfortunate possibility that criticism of the transgender person’s actions in Vernon could be misconstrued as being homophobic, and the complainant labelled a racist, bigot, unprincipled, and all-around horrible person. But that shouldn’t be the case, at least not in this instance.

One of the greatest things to ever happen to humankind is human rights. Imagine where we would be without them. Just look at some other countries and count your blessings.

But in the pursuit of these rights and freedoms, we must be careful they are fairly distributed and do not come at the expense or detriment of others.

Columbia Valley Pioneer