A mother has revealed her anger when she was told her nine-year-old son is not allowed to change next to her in the girls’ changing rooms at his private swimming school.
Speaking to MailOnline anonymously in a bid to highlight a scenario she says many women with young children face, she says she was shocked when she was told her son would have to use the men’s changing rooms alone.
She claims that when she responded that she was not comfortable with her Year 5 son getting naked away from her, she was told to “bring a man” to accompany him in the future.
Before the weekend incident, the mother, who was married to her son’s father but is now in a same-sex relationship, regularly took her son to classes for £14 a session, which are held at a school with separate male teachers. and women’s changing rooms.
She says the swimming lesson provider in Hertfordshire will not allow boys into the girls’ changing area after they turn eight.
The furious mother told MailOnline that a manager told her and her son that he would no longer be allowed to use the girls’ changing room at Hertfordshire swimming school because he was “over eight years old”.
“We were told that under no circumstances was my son allowed into the women’s locker room, and when we suggested that one of us take him to the men’s locker room, he was not allowed to either,” she explained.
The mother told MailOnline that this is the first time she has faced the problem and has never had problems elsewhere, including using public toilets.
He said UK swimming and leisure providers should provide alternative facilities if they do not want children in women’s changing rooms.
Reading past stories about children being sexually assaulted or raped in locker rooms because they were unsupervised made her determine that her son would stay by her side in such cases, she added.
“I’m not willing to let any of my kids be left alone in a locker room where I can’t watch them undress.” Anyone can enter the field and the locker rooms.
When asked if alternative facilities could be provided, the swim school director said there were none and the two women would have to “bring a man” next time.
The mother told MailOnline: ‘He’s nine, he doesn’t like girls and he doesn’t gawk. As much as we want to, he just wants to dry off, get dressed and get out of the locker room.
“He’s not an outgoing or confident boy and he still relies heavily on his parents. Of course, he can dry off and change, but I don’t want him to do it in front of a bunch of strangers without us.
As a result, the family terminated their nine-year-old son’s swimming contract, but are faced with not being able to take their other younger children to the same location, because the nine-year-old would have to wait outside.
She says having strictly segregated locker rooms for men and women seems outdated, saying, “It’s a common problem across the country and it needs to be addressed.”
Many leisure facilities have increasingly opted for co-ed changing areas in recent years to address these issues, but swim schools using school facilities often only offer designated men’s or women’s changing rooms.
Britain’s equality watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), ruled in September that schools are legally obliged to provide separate changing rooms according to biological sex.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said teachers who allow children to use toilets and changing rooms according to their chosen “gender identity” rather than their biological sex risk breaking the law and could face action. legal.
The issue of segregated bathrooms in schools remains a hot topic: in August last year, five teenagers wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to maintain single-sex bathrooms in schools to ensure the safety and dignity of female students. (File image)
In August last year, five teenage girls wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to maintain single-sex toilets in schools to ensure the safety and dignity of female pupils.
In an open letter, the students, who are aged between 13 and 15, called on Rishi Sunak to tackle the issue head-on when the Government publishes its long-awaited transgender guidance in schools.
The girls, who used only their names to sign the letter for fear of a backlash from trans activists, said single-sex facilities were an “essential safeguarding feature” of schools.