Trans woman Alexandra Fredvall calls for wardrobes suitable for everyone – NRK Sørlandet – Local news, TV and radio

Trans woman Alexandra Fredvall calls for wardrobes suitable for everyone – NRK Sørlandet – Local news, TV and radio

– Alexandra Fredwall says with relief that in high school, she chose to wear gym clothes all day instead of changing.

The 16-year-old was born a boy, but today identifies as transgender. For years, he avoided swimming pools and gyms. This is because they do not agree with her.

– I tried men’s and women’s wardrobes. Both make me feel left out.

Fredwall likes repurposed wardrobes The third is legal gender. The term is used for people who do not consider themselves male or female.

Alexandra Fredwall hasn’t been to the Aquarama water park in Kristiansund for years.

Photo: MALIN HEGGEBØ ROLFSEN / NRK

Dorian Gabriel Norheim, a student at Achter University, defines himself as non-binary. He believes that changing rooms for both sexes excludes large sections of the community from activities.

– If there were gender-neutral changing rooms, she says, “people like me” could participate in such activities.

Norheim used to go to the swimming pool every week. Now he doesn’t do that.

– It’s embarrassing. Always feeling like a “freak show” on the fringes.

Dorian Gabriel Norheim

Dorian Gabriel Norheim defines himself as non-binary.

Photo: MALIN HEGGEBØ ROLFSEN / NRK

Two out of ten feel discomfort

16.2 percent of the population responds in the new response Experiment From Bufdir that they agree with the statement that “sharing a closet with a trans person can be awkward.”

It’s worse at Aktor and Westfold and Telemark. More than 20 percent agree with the statement.

Åge Bjelland is president of FRI Agder. She believes it’s time to create gender-neutral wardrobes.

– We mentioned it to the municipality, but they are more concerned with gender-neutral toilets, says Bjelland.

No more plans

In 2018, Kristiansand Municipality removed the signs for women and men in the town hall.

– Just like the rest of the country, Kristiansand still has a long way to go, says Han Gro Sorborg.

He is a LIM consultant (Equality, Inclusion and Diversity) at the Municipality of Kristiansand. Sorborg says the municipality has no plans for gender-neutral changing rooms.

– I want both people with disabilities, people of migrant background, different sexual orientation and gender expression to have access to safe changing rooms, he says.

Hanne Kro Sørborg

Hanne Kro works for Sørborg Kristiansand municipality.

Photo: Iris Elin Ulwang / NRK

High costs

According to municipalities and swimming pools such as Aquarama, high costs and the remodeling process hinder the development of gender-neutral changing rooms.

Aquarama’s manager Kathryn Wilson says they have a family closet that everyone can use.

In the hall, there are cubicles in closets for men and women that can be used for personal changing.

Catherine Wilson at Aquarama

Kathryn Wilson is Aquarama’s Head of Bathroom. He says he understands Fredwall’s frustration and that the staff is trying to be as accommodating as possible.

Photo: Malin Hegbe Rolfsen

No overview

The Spicheren training center in Kristiansand has a gender-neutral changing room.

It’s used almost every day, says center manager Christian Jørnsen. He believes it is one of the few places in the country that has such an option.

The organization Skeiv ungdom demands that all public institutions, schools, universities and colleges, swimming pools and private institutions introduce gender-neutral toilets, dressing rooms and/or changing rooms accessible to all.

The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority’s regulations on changing rooms state that workplaces must generally have separate changing rooms for women and men.

Statsbygg says it does not have an overview of how many buildings are designed for people other than women and men.

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