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Newport makes minor improvements to recreation center changing rooms after facing criticism for transgender use of facilities

Newport's aquatic facilities - which is part of its recreation center.
City of Newport
Newport's aquatic facilities are part of its recreation center.

Newport is moving forward with plans to make minor improvements to the locker rooms at its recreation facility.

It comes after the city faced a barrage of criticism for allowing transgender people to use the changing rooms there.

Newport staff investigated a recent complaint about LGBTQ changing room use - but they found no evidence that any rules, or laws were broken. That complaint led to false claims online and people from across the region showing up in person during a meeting in May to accuse Newport of endangering children.

Some called on the city to build separate bathroom facilities for transgender people to use.

During that meeting, Newport Councilor CM Hall said the city was committed to equity.

“The inference to child abuse and people who are trying to recreate as LGBTQ people is false and offensive to me on a deep level,” she said.

Newport said it intends to follow state law - which bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

At a City Council meeting Monday, the city outlined plans to improve privacy for everyone by fixing broken bathroom stall locks and buying curtains that fully cover changing stalls.

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.