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Friday, December 24, 2004

YMCA Chief Fired for Transgender Ball Flap

The Guardian
Friday December 24, 2004
3:16 PM

CHICAGO (AP) - A YMCA director has been fired and overnight facility rentals banned after the parents of young children arriving for a morning swim meet clashed with participants in an overnight transgender fashion show and ball.

Greg Weider, who had been acting director of the New City YMCA for two years, was fired Wednesday. Programming manager Michael Horton, who oversaw scheduling at the center, resigned two days earlier.

``We've taken very swift, decisive action, and we will do everything we can in order to restore the integrity of our organization for those that we serve,'' said Steven Dahlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Authorities said a YMCA member had reserved the entire facility from 11 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday for the fashion show and ball. The YMCA rented out the rooms, although families were scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m to use some of the same rooms for a swim meet.

Police and private security guards were called after some parents used sexual slurs, and scuffling broke out, authorities said. No arrests were made.

``They have no idea what transgender is, and I wouldn't want that exposure forced on them,'' said Yeun Pearrelli, who has children ages 5 and 9 attending programs at New City. ``I wouldn't think that should be something I have to worry about.''

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