FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Springfield, IL – The Illinois Freedom Caucus in partnership with the Independence Women’s Forum today held a press conference and called on the Springfield YMCA to stop the outrageous discrimination against 16-year-old swimmer Abbigail Wheeler for simply standing up for truth.
Abbigail Wheeler recently questioned why biological males were allowed in the girls’ changing room at the YMCA. Several parents also expressed concerns, but YMCA officials ignored them and insisted the biological males could continue to access the women’s locker rooms despite the fact there are gender neutral bathroom facilities already available at the YMCA. Abbigail posted signs in protest in the women’s locker room reading, “Women’s Rights,” “Biological Women Only,” and “Safe Sport.” Her signs were erroneously labeled “hate speech” and she was kicked off the swim team.
“The Springfield YMCA has gender neutral bathrooms,” said State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Charleston). “If biological males don’t want to change in front of other biological males – then let them change by themselves in a gender-neutral bathroom. If it is wrong to require biological males to change in front of other biological males because they are uncomfortable then why is it OK to disregard the feelings and concerns of biological women who don’t want to share their private spaces with naked men? Of course, the only solution the radical left will allow is the one that forces young women to share their locker rooms with men. They do not care what their policies are doing to young women. All they care about is advancing the trans ideology.”
State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) said what is happening to Abbigail is not consistent with the YMCA’s mission.
“Biological males have no place changing in the same room as young women,” Niemerg said. “The idea that those young women should have to endure this affront to them and their privacy just to appease a male under the delusion he is a woman is madness. According to the national YMCA website ‘The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.’ There is nothing “Christian” about denying biological truth. The YMCA here in Springfield has failed to live up to its mission. It has failed to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body. And it certainly has failed Abbigail Wheeler and the young women in their care.”
State Rep. David Friess (R-Red Bud) said the idea that the YMCA is powerless to act is a misnomer.
“One of the laws that is commonly misquoted and misrepresented on this topic is the Illinois Human Rights Act,” Friess said. “The Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, ‘sexual orientation, and ‘gender identity’ states the following: ‘Nothing in this Article shall apply to … Facilities Distinctly Private. Any facility, as to discrimination based on sex, which is distinctly private in nature such as restrooms, shower rooms, bath houses, health clubs (775 ILCS 5/5-103) (from Ch. 68, par. 5-103) Sec. 5-103).’ Clearly, there is no requirement to allow biological males in the women’s locker room.”
Illinois Freedom Caucus members vowed to continue fighting for young women like Abbigail Wheeler.
“Female Locker Rooms should be for biological females,” said State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville). “If you have male anatomy, you do not belong in the Female Locker Room, and frankly, you do not belong in a women’s sport either. If those statements sound controversial or offensive to you, the reality is that the Truth does not yield to hurt feelings.”