The Des Moines Y Camp, which is hosted in Boone, confirmed it has hired an 18-year-old biological male who is transitioning to a female. The individual has been hired as an in-cabin overnight counselor with young girls.
Alex Kretzinger, the executive director of the camp, told The Iowa Standard it is indeed true that the Y Camp is employing this individual.
“Yes,” he said.
Parents, however, are not told this information.
“We can’t give somebody’s private information like that out to every parent,” he said. “So we aren’t openly, um, because we have to protect the privacy of the individual as well. So we are not informing parents of anyone’s identity or gender identity.”
Kretzinger said he is following the policy of human resources and that’s what he has been instructed is the best course of action.
“I will tell parents if they ask if we have any staff that are, I will say yes, but I’m not going to tell them which individual that is,” he said.
Kretzinger said the following:
“It is a transgender staff who identifies as female who is working in a female cabin.”
He said if asked, he’d say they do have staff who are transgender. And the camp sends a photo of the staff member and an introduction to each parent prior to arrival.
“If they feel uncomfortable with that staff they can let us know,” he said. “And we can talk about how to do that. But I don’t send out a, ‘just so you know your leader will identify as this or anything.’ We treat them as the gender they identify with.”
The information is not volunteered, he confirmed.
The Y Camp cannot discriminate, he said.
“We cannot not allow someone to work here under the same expectations and opportunities based on identity or orientation in the same way that, you know, race or religion is also protected,” he said. “So we have to respect the person’s identity as an employee and give them the same opportunities that we would anybody else.”
Kretzinger said there has been transgender staff before, but none have worked within the cabin context. The past staff has worked within the custodial departments.
“This is the first time,” he said.
Kretzinger said the organization worked to make sure it followed its own policies as well as legal protections provided under the law.
“The way that we discuss it is that it’s a transgender female who identifies as female and so we treat her as a female staff,” Kretzinger said.
Y Camp is a part of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. However, the camp is not affiliated with a church. It started in 1844 and that’s what it was called originally.
“Now they’ve rebranded in a way to be just the Y, but it is still legally the Young Men’s Christian Association or YMCA,” he said.
Last weekend we broke the story about the Pella Aquatic Center allowing a middle teenaged biological female to go topless and use male facilities with men and boys of all ages.