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Last Monday, Kate Haslam took her son to a gym class at the Spring Valley YMCA in Limerick, Pa., like she does every Monday. Partway through the class, he got hungry so she did what many mothers would do — she took him to the side of the room and nursed. So she was shocked when two managers allegedly approached her and asked her to leave the room.
“As we were finishing up two upper level management entered the room and approached us to tell me that I would need to nurse on the benches outside of the classroom as there were ‘men in this class that are uncomfortable.’” Haslam wrote in a Facebook post.
“A friend asked if they had a dedicated nursing area and we were told no we could nurse in the locker room.”
When Haslam pointed out that the locker room was coed, and therefore there would also be the possibility of “uncomfortable” men there, she was told that there were stalls with curtains and the YMCA would “prefer” she use the locker room or cover up.
“I explained that as a nursing mother being told to cover up and be hidden away isn’t making me comfortable and was against the law. The teacher and the associate director went back and forth telling me they can’t make me but they prefer women to cover up or go to locker room over and over to make all members comfortable.”
Later that afternoon, Haslam shared the incident with some friends from a nursing support group who then took to the YMCA Facebook page to vent their disappointment with the facility.
“In an effort to save face every comment was responded to with a copy and pasted apology that had the facts completely misrepresented,” Haslam says. “An apology written by the Regional Director, whom I never met nor spoken to in any way.”
She then decided to give her side of the story by posting an explanation of the incident on her own Facebook page, asking people to share.
Many women quickly rallied behind Haslam, voicing their support. The post currently has more than 1,300 shares.