SANTEE, Calif. — On Wednesday at the Santee City Council meeting, the transgender woman at the center of a vitriolic debate over the local YMCA's locker room policy took to the podium to share her side of the story.
Two weeks earlier, 17-year-old Rebecca Philips said she was "terrified" after seeing what she thought was a naked man in the women's locker room at the Santee YMCA.
Since then, there have been both protests and calls of support for 66-year-old Chrystynne Wood, who found herself in the middle of it all.
Wood said that she was "sorry" that this forum at the Santee city council meeting was previously used by Philips to "spread lies and a hateful political agenda."
"The amount of organized hatred and lies vilifying and dehumanizing me and other members of the transgender community has truly been disgusting and disheartening," said Wood, a mother and grandmother, who told the audience she has fully transitioned from male to female.
"I am a threat to no one," she added, "And the last year I have been a member of the Y, children have attended summer camp, and have been with their parents and grandparents in the women's locker room with me and there has never ever been an incident ever!"
Wood's supporters packed the Santee City Council Chambers Wednesday night, and also spoke out.
"I would feel incredibly comfortable with my children in the locker room with Chrissy," said one supporter.
"The trans community has watched this unfold and they have been a victim to this harm," added another. "If we want to protect women and children we need to focus on how hate deeply wounds us."
Critics of the YMCA's policy of allowing people to use the changing area that aligns with their gender identity, which state law requires, also had their say Wednesday night.
"I am a woman and I say no more to men gender-appropriating women," said one.
"This is a war on women, children and the truth, capital T," said former Miss California Carrie Prejean, "And the enemy is disguised in high heels, lipstick and a shaved beard."
"Honey, I don't run from lies and threats and bullies," Wood told CBS 8. "That is just not in my DNA!"
Wood said she had nothing to say to her detractors.
"I talk to people with love in their hearts, with compassion and with common decency, and who don't try to take a perverted message that clings to junk science," Wood added.
At the end of the public comment period, Santee's Mayor John Minto said that he is working with the local YMCA to make sure that everybody there feels "safe and valued," adding " We don't know what that looks like yet, but we are going to get there."
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