Letter to the Editor: Men’s locker room privacy violations must stop

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The Free Press

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at around 5pm, three female athletic department staff members entered the men’s locker room at the Costello Sports Complex on the USM Gorham campus (first floor, public use men’s locker room, room 120). There were several men inside the men’s locker room at the time, changing and also showering naked.

To be clear, the three female staff members were cisgender women, college-aged, wearing blue USM athletic polos. They entered the men’s locker room while men were already occupying the room. One of the women had long blonde hair, and another was pushing a supply cart through the men’s locker room. They entered the men’s locker room, they walked right past the open shower room (which I was showering in at the time), and proceeded to access the storage closet for supplies. The storage closet is situated between the two open shower rooms (room 121).

This has actually happened before around the same time of day. The first time that it happened, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s as if USM thinks that it’s perfectly fine for men to have their genitals exposed to women in a male-only area.

This is absolutely NOT the same thing as a cleaning-lady coming in and closing off the room with clearly visible signs while she cleans the room. The men’s locker room was already in use with naked men inside when the women entered.

Therefore, I must surmise that this happens much more frequently than just the times that I happened to be there.

And there is a USM athletic department coordinator somewhere that actually permits this and thinks that this is perfectly acceptable.

This is absolutely not acceptable.

This is a violation of privacy.

This practice must stop.

I do not consent to this.

I feel violated.

Even writing this is giving me much anxiety.

I thought that USM was suppose to be a safe zone, but I guess that doesn’t include the men’s locker room at Costello.

This event made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, which completely defeats the purpose of even having separate locker rooms for men and women.

The men’s locker room is clearly labeled. There should be no women inside for any reason, whether it’s staff or public – especially during regular hours while naked men are occupying the room.

Imagine if the roles were reversed – male athletic department staff members entering the women’s locker room while naked women are inside. Or if a man decides to go in to retrieve a girlfriend’s belonging for her. There would be an uproar; those men would find themselves in trouble with university law enforcement. Yet, it’s perfectly fine for a female staff member to do the same thing in the men’s locker room.

Or worse, what happens if a naked man in the men’s locker room decides to inappropriately approach one of these female staff members – while she’s only in there to retrieve supplies?

There is clearly a double-standard going on here.

There are only two solutions here:
1. only male staff members should be permitted inside the men’s locker room for any reason, or
2. move the contents of the storage closet outside the men’s locker room (while retaining a policy that only permits men inside the men’s locker room).

If this happens again, I will have my phone ready to video-record these female staff members entering and walking through the men’s locker room – and I will send the video to everyone at USM – and I mean everyone.

Signed,

Violated Gym Member

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