The City of Tukwila crossed over a line it should not have when it converted a program for a group that was renting the pool, excluding men due to a combination of cultural and religious restrictions, from a private program to a public one. Instead of the renters enforcing segregation against non-renters, the government enforces and legitimizes their practices, imposing them on others! Government employees look at a customer, determine their gender, and exclude the wrong gender from entry to the building. The excluded gender is not only denied access to the pool, but also to the bleachers, lobby and bathroom. Female customers have greater modesty standards imposed on them than men.
Due to this program, our son has now experienced the effects of segregation twice! In one episode, he was denied access due to his gender. In the second, he witnessed discrimination against his mother. Our son has a disability where he needs a caregiver to be in ear/eye shot to ensure his safety. Single parents and caregivers of the disabled do not need more barriers.
When residents are denied access to government services on the basis of gender, it denies us access to hold our government accountable. It is absurd to think separate times for each gender is an acceptable solution. If this is acceptable, then the government can now set up separate times for other services. Shall women have access to the permitting office between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and men from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.? How will we know if one gender is being provided separate unequal services compared to the other? Who is left out in the cold?
We urge the City and the Metropolitan Park District Commissioners to stop using taxpayer money to implement and legitimize gender segregation.
Christine and Robert Neuffer, Tukwila