“Natalie” Nathan Smith explains her rights as a transgender. (Cody Shoemake)
Natalie Smith was told by campus security that she would be arrested for using the women’s restroom in the women’s locker room in late January.
“We can’t have men in the women’s locker room,” said Interim Chief of Police Christopher S.M. Wilkinson.
Smith was born a male and went by the name Nathan Smith while attending Saddleback a few years ago. Smith said that she returned to school to continue her dance major, only this time she would be on campus no longer dressed as a male.
“I qualify myself as a woman,” Smith said. “When I was six, I knew I was different, but I was not able to voice my belief up until five years ago.”
Wilkinson said that once Smith completes her therapy requirements, undergoes surgery to become a transsexual, and carries official documentation then she is more than welcome to use the woman’s restroom.
“We’re an opened community. Anyone is allowed to come on here,” Wilkinson said about college grounds.
“He has a right to be on this campus, but the thing is is that you can’t disrupt the function of the campus.”
Smith left Saddleback because she’s uncomfortable with the Saddleback policy and believes that transsexuals have more rights than a transgender’s mainly because transsexuals have undergone “sex reassignment surgery.”
Smith said that she currently has plans to have this surgery and to fulfill the sex reassignment therapy which will require a full psychological treatment, according to the Transgender Health Program.
“I plan on finding a doctor. It’s just basically having the finances to pay the doctor,” Smith said. “I haven’t changed my name because it costs too much.”
According to health.costhelper.com, a full gender transition would cost a maximum of $50,000. That includes consultations, hormone therapy, psychiatry, the actual surgeries, care taking and follow-ups.
Smith said that when she uses male restrooms she feels very awkward, and although she hasn’t legally changed her name, she still demands the right to occupy the women’s facilities.
“I was surprised that they didn’t have a policy toward transgender students. I think Saddleback should have a better policy than they do on that issue, they need to update their policy,” Smith said.
Some students on campus express indifference on the subject.
Marlene Gonzales, nursing major, said that she doesn’t care if a transgender uses the restroom, “If they want to use a particular restroom, then just let them use it,” she said.
Smith’s home near Saddleback College. (Cody Shoemake)
Smith explaining her desire to dance at Saddleback College. (Cody Shoemake)
Smith petting her dog during exclusive interview. (Cody Shoemake)