A Maryland lifeguard is facing punishment for trying to protect the safety and privacy of his female employees.
Capt. Butch Arbin has been a lifeguard at Ocean City for over four decades, rising to the position of the head of the beach patrol. In that capacity, he recently responded to complaints from women on his staff that men were using women’s changing rooms – not because they are transgender, but because the women’s facility was apparently more convenient.
In response, Arbin sent an email to staff saying: “We are NOT Target. Use the locker room that corresponds to DNA. If you’re NOT SURE, go to Target.”
City officials say Arbin was out of line and will be sanctioned – but Derek McCoy, a board member at Maryland Family Alliance, says the lifeguard doesn’t need to be punished or reprimanded at all.
“I think he is well within his perspective to be able to just help people understand and manage to do his job correctly,” says McCoy. “[He was basically saying] you guys need to stay in your appropriate dressings rooms or restrooms or facilities as noted.”
In a follow-up email, Arbin said he used humor “to make the point” that he was only looking out for his female staff members who choose to use a gender-specific facility.
While the city is rushing to judgment and protecting transgenders, McCoy contends a piece of the puzzle is missing in that thinking.
“We’re going to be discriminating against the women,” he says. “Because … to be honest, what about the women’s safety? What about women’s rights? What about their ability to go into a public space with safety and security and not have to have these infringements come upon them that a male just wants to come in?”
McCoy notes many incidents around the U.S. already testify to men using the transgender argument to invade women’s privacy, to take photos of girls and women unclothed, and so forth.