Last week we reported about the planned private party at the Jefferson swimming pool called a “Swim As You Are – Gender Inclusive Pool Party.”
The event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 13 at the Jefferson pool. It is for all “transgender, gender diverse, non-binary folx and their friends,” according to the Eventbrite page.
Gender-neutral bathrooms and changing rooms will be provided, along with a safe space “open only to transgender, gender diverse, non-binary folx and their friends as well as snacks, music and a huge pool to have fun in will be provided.
It turns out the organizers of the event were unhappy the event gained publicity. Rich Osborne contacted The Iowa Standard to say he was “upset” that the use of a private party invitation incited a “political mess.”
“The Jefferson pool party is not offered by the pool, parks & rec or the city,” he wrote. “This is a private event that individuals and businesses sponsored and rented the facility. I don’t know how a copy of the invitation was obtained, but the amount of panic and hatred, and threats already received is uncalled for. It has also become clear that no one verified any information nor reached out for any comments. Very unprofessional. I think this story needs to disappear along with the online content, and apologies made.”
Rich claimed the city was unaware of the event happening. He said it was not sanctioned or supported by the city.
“There were originally 35 people invited and then support grew virally,” he said.
The intent of the party was to provide youth (most are 14-21 he said) a chance to relax in public without hearing comments like those on the post about the party.
When The Iowa Standard continued to tell Rich we talked with multiple people affiliated with the city and both knew about the event, he eventually admitted not everyone might be on the same page.
And, he added, the coverage of the event was still not appropriate.
“You don’t seem to state anything but the facts of the invite, which was not public,” he said. “But it is being taken in a very negative light.”
Reagan Osborne, who is listed as the individual who rented the pool for the party according to records obtained through an open records request, criticized State Sen. Jesse Green on his own Facebook post about the event.
“You should consider that the ‘news’ site that you shared did NOT fact check the sources,” she wrote. “They simply said they did. I would know because I am the organizer of the event and they NEVER contacted me to verify any details.”
Keep in mind Rich Osborne admitted all The Iowa Standard did was “state the facts of the invite.”
While the organizers of the event continue to say it wasn’t intended to be publicized, it does have its own Eventbrite page.
And while The Iowa Standard published the story about the event six days ago, eight days ago it was listed on www.newsbreak.com due to the Eventbrite page.
On July 16, the city of Jefferson posted the following to its Facebook page:
“The City of Jefferson has received concerns regarding access to the Jefferson public swimming pool, specifically pertaining to patrons that are transgender. The City has reviewed the matter with legal counsel. Consistent with federal and state law, the City shall not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability. No further action shall be taken and the matter is considered concluded. The City of Jefferson is and shall continue to be a welcoming community to all people.”
Shortly after that post was published, Rich Osborne thanked the city for making “such quick work of getting the statement out” in a Facebook conversation with a person affiliated with the city.
“If we had to nitpick it, the wording is incorrect ‘patrons who identify as transgender’ should be ‘patrons that are transgender.’ And it would be awesome to see Parks and Rec’s page share it too.”
And 40 minutes after Rich suggested Parks and Rec share the post on their page, they did.