Sexual abuse victim fights transgender bathroom bill

Transgenderism | Mother of two lost her job at the YMCA over the issue
by Mary Reichard
Posted 8/01/16, 02:06 pm

Kaeley Haver, a 33-year-old mother of two in Washington state, has a story to tell, if only legislators and politicians would listen.

“For the first 10 years of my life, I was sexually abused by somebody close to the family,” Haver said. “It started when I was still in diapers. I literally cannot remember a time when sexual awareness was not part of my identity or my norm.”

The advent of policies that force schools and other public places to allow people to use the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity and not their biological sex has deeply troubled Haver. In particular, she pointed to how Washington state’s Human Rights Commission slipped through a transgender restroom law the day after Christmas last year.

“Five people determined for all 7 million residents of Washington state that this is the new way. And it’s wrong. And it ignores a lot of people like me who are going to be deeply affected by it,” Haver said.

Matt Sharp, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, agreed.

“This is an issue where the rights and concerns of sexually abused children and those that have endured unspeakable horrors are being ignored, all in the push for this agenda,” he said.

Haver paid a steep price for speaking up: She was fired from her job. Haver had worked for the YMCA for 17 years when her boss informed her she’d be responsible for promoting a new policy opening locker rooms and showers on the basis of gender identity. Haver pushed back, arguing she had personally caught sex offenders at the YMCA and filed some of the police reports against them.

“I expressed my experience and my concern, especially as somebody who was assaulted in the shower—what this would mean to girls like me,” Haver said. She was given the option to resign with severance pay as long as she stayed silent. If she couldn’t be silent, she would be fired on the spot.

“I believe that everybody deserves safety,” Haver said. “I don’t believe in forcing people into what they would call the ‘wrong’ bathroom. But neither do I believe that their rights should come at the expense of my safety and privacy. So we need to kind of pump the brakes on this. It’s been happening so fast, without thought.”

Haver’s been working on a campaign to repeal the open-restroom rule in her state. But some churches are reluctant to get involved, a stance Haver finds frustrating. She said some churches told her they didn’t want to get involved in anything political or that might seem “unwelcoming to the broken.”

“There are a lot of broken women already, especially lining your pews,” Haver said. “If the church won’t defend us, I’m not quite sure where else to appeal.”

Mosques have offered robust support, adding sting to her frustration with churches.

Sharp said so far he has been encouraged in the fight against transgender restroom use policies because so many states have sued the federal government to protect the privacy of students and others.

“It’s a battle I think we can win,” Sharp said. He called on Christian churches to join the fight: “This is about something that affects the kids in their youth group, children in their church, that they ought to be taking a stand on.”

Listen to Mary Reichard’s complete report on transgender restroom policies on the Aug. 1, 2016, episode of The World and Everything in It.

Mary Reichard


Mary is co-host, legal affairs correspondent, and dialogue editor for WORLD Radio. She is also co-host of the Legal Docket podcast. Mary is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and St. Louis University School of Law. She resides with her husband near Springfield, Mo.


Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • Wanda C
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 03:04 pm

    Shame on the Church!

    Toby Comeaux

  • Hans's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 03:27 pm

    Out of curiosity, do the people saying, "we don't want these guys in there unattended with our daughters!" really want those people in there unattended with their sons? This cuts both ways. Regardless, there are dangerous people of all kinds (as Ms Haver apparently already found out during her tenure at the YMCA), and this kind of legislation one way or the other isn't really going to make anyone safer.


    I can and do have the utmost sympathy with Ms Haver's story of suffering abuse, though from the sounds of it, it sounds like what we would expect--sexual abuse by a close relative (which is BY FAR the most common) and therefore almost certainly in a private location (again, by far the most common). I think that there is a rational discussion to be had here--there is something complicated about the fact that it is difficult to discern between the genuine transgender individual (who in my view poses little to no threat) and your average random perv who just decides to check out the naked people in the opposite gender's locker room. At the same time, these kinds of bathroom laws are virtually unenforceable anyway. How is one going to "check" to see whether someone is violating the law? Isn't the very prospect of that itself an invasion of privacy?

  • Beth
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 03:45 pm

    1) These laws make it impossible for women to keep men out of their bathrooms and locker rooms.  It's illegal to ask someone about their gender identity and if asked, all a male would have to do is say that he identified as a woman.  He could then keep showering naked next to the young girls' swim team.  As an example, Kaeley reported this story several weeks ago:

    "This evening we received the following message from Melissa about her experience today a 24 Hour Fitness in Seattle. This is not okay, folks.

    "Today I went to the gym at lunch and when I went into the locker room to change, I saw a man... Completely naked. I quickly turned around in a panic thinking I had walked into the men's locker room instead of the women's. Nope, I was in fact in the women's locker room. With the change of policy I knew there was nothing I could do so I walked in, the man made eye contact and I walked past the first bay where he was into the second one (there were only two).

    I was about to start changing and realized how uncomfortable I was. He could easily go one row over and see me. How could I know for sure if he was transgender or a creepy guy taking advantage of the system? All I knew was that he was DEFINITELY a guy now... Regardless of how he was born.

    I ended up going in the back to the shower and toilet area where I found all the rest of the women in the locker room. We all had the same idea... To get changed in the bathroom stalls instead of in the open area for privacy.

    None of us had the courage to speak to management about this either for the fear that we would be labeled something we are not. This has nothing to do about being for or against the LBGT community. It's the fact that we don't feel comfortable seeing a man in our dressing room and that we have no way to tell if he is going to take advantage of the new policy or us. It was extremely uncomfortable.

    When I walked out, he had changed into slacks and a button up top. In all areas, he was a man... Looked and dressed like one. How is this ok?! What if there were little girls in there? I don't understand how this policy was ever allowed and that it hasn't been converted back yet!"

    2) Mothers already know that men's bathrooms are potentially unsafe for their little boys.  Most moms take their little boys with them into the women's restrooms as long as possible.  After that, until their boys are full-size, they are usually vigilant when their boys go into the men's restroom.  I was always relieved to see "family guys" going in the bathroom at the same time as my son.

  • Hans's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 05:50 pm

    Right, I agree that this is a complicating factor. The fact of the matter is that actual transgender people have been using the restroom of the gender they identify with for quite some time, and because they have done their best to adapt to expected gender looks, they essentially blend in and you don't notice them. To me what has happened through all this hubub is that we have essentially gone from a don't ask don't tell kind of policy (not law, by the way) to a greater degree of clarity that has paradoxically muddied the waters. Now there isn't a way to tell the difference between a transgender person and a pervert. But even though I acknowledge this as a legitimate problem, I would suggest to you that transgender people also pose a problem to a simplistic model. Look up some pictures of transgendered people. What restroom would you have them use? I tend to think that most people who are defending these laws just want them not to exist, but they do. So where would you have them go?


    This whole discussion also exposes some odd elements of our concepts of modesty. We speak of the need for privacy, but somehow we have talked ourselves into being comfortable with being naked in front of half the world's population. I have to imagine that eventually we will move towards the kind of transgender friendly restrooms and locker rooms that I have already encountered--single and family use. That may not be a perfect compromise, but it seems generally reasonable. It is admittedly expensive though.

  •  Greg Mangrum's picture
    Greg Mangrum
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 08:16 pm

    Hans, you make a good point about enforcement. I can hear progressives saying, "Don't legislate your morality into my bedroom" when it comes to the homosexual agenda, but, not surprisingly, these same people want to legislate their morality when it comes to gender-confused persons using a bathroom that does not correspond to their God given sex.

    Sexual abuse aside if we can (and it is a BIG issue), transgender folk say that they need to use the bathroom corresponding to their perceived gender due to bullying. However, if a man who thinks he is a woman is bullied in a men's restroom he is opening the Pandora's Box of bullying and harassment (what others would call defending their loved ones) when he chooses a bathroom that does not correspond to his biological sex. Men will be waiting outside (if not entering themselves) to clearly explain why said gender confused man should NOT be using the same bathroom as the defender's female loved one. This is utter madness and many people will not stand for this. Transgender folk don't need laws protecting their misplaced sense of entitlement, they need help.

    It is only common sense to think that other men (who could care less about LGBTQ issues) who are sexual predators will take advantage of a legal system that allows them to enter ANY bathroom with impunity. This also will not stand.

    Churches (so called "mainline") are not proclaimers of Christ's gospel when they support this type of lunacy. Isn't it ironic that mosques are willing to stand for truth, when churches--who are bodies of the One who is Truth--lack the courage to do so? Christ has harsh words for the cowardly and perverse. If you (not necessarily you, Hans, but whomever) don't think so, read The Revelation to John.

  • Beth
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 09:28 pm

    Before these new laws, I'm sure many transgender people used the bathrooms of their new identity and almost no one noticed or said anything.  But now we are being forced to ignore the obvious - a naked man in the locker room, an obvious male in the dressing room or bathroom, etc.  Now, even when we know that they are biologically male, we are forbidden to raise an alarm.  That's the danger.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 03:59 pm

    Ms. Haver's story is certainly something to be concerned about, but there's a bigger picture here.  What is it that makes the "bathroom" issue so important?  It's the fact that the left's ultimate goal is "to break down the natural modesty of children; to force them to ignore their own natural and healthy instincts toward privacy and decency regarding the opposite sex in situations that demand propriety; to cause them to view themselves and their own natural, God-given and healthy gut-feelings about being exposed to someone of the opposite gender as hateful, bigoted and mean.

    The goal is to program our children into believing they are bad people if they object to sharing restroom and locker room facilities with the opposite sex. They must be raised to accept the new madness without resistance."


    The quote is from Jennifer Hartline's excellent article at The Stream, which can be read in its entirety here.



  • cln
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 04:01 pm

    Hillary Clinton would be of no help in this issue. We will see more of the same with her as president. She is not pro woman. If she was she would be staunchly opposed to the opening of bathrooms to both sexes. If she was she would support clean and safe clinics for abortion. And she would support counseling and adoption above abortion. If she was truly pro LGBT she would support help for these  people so that they could find their true identity, not encouragement in confusion. 

  • creekmama
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 04:23 pm

    So true.  The left's pro-woman claim is the height of hypocrisy.  Now they're telling us we don't even deserve privacy in restrooms and locker rooms.

  • creekmama
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 04:54 pm

    When I was fifteen-years-old, I had a run-in with a pervert at our apartment complex swimming pool.  Guys like that are looking for an opportunity to expose themselves.  This fella lived near the pool.  He was watching that pool and waiting for his chance.  Now we're throwing open the doors to women's restrooms and locker rooms and saying, "Come on in, guys!"  And now women are huddling in shower and toilet stalls trying to change and not complaining for fear of being labeled a bigot.  As the old Virginia Slims ads said, "You've come a long way, baby."  Yes, indeed.  Look how far we've come.


  • JerryM
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 07:16 pm

    I encourage Kaeley in her fight for common sense and apologise for the weakness of the church which, I would argue, is more concerned with numbers in attendance than standing for the truth and those oppressed outside its walls.  

    Lord have mercy on us and help those who are standing.

  •  kemper's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/01/2016 09:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing a terrible personal concern publically to help protect our children from sexual predators. I will speak out and if the law comes to our state then I will stand against it and ask my church to do so also. God bless you.

  • Tessa
    Posted: Tue, 08/02/2016 11:29 am

    Sadly, the petition to put this issue on the ballot in Washington state failed just weeks ago, with some of my own friends saying that they vote, but just aren't into that kind of thing [petitions].