Ind. Woman Says She was Booted From Waterpark Over Sexuality, Swimwear
A woman from Indiana claims she was kicked out of a Michigan waterpark on July 9 because she is a lesbian and because she was wearing men's swimming trunks, Indiana ABC-affiliate station WRTV reports.
Jill Sweeny, of South Bend, Ind., says managers at WildWater Adventure in Muskegon, Mich., kicked her out of the park because of what she was wearing and because she is lesbian.
Sweeny and her partner held their bachelorette party at WildWater with family and friends. They were only at the park for three hours before Sweeny was asked to leave.
"I hate to say it, but I think it's because I'm a lesbian," she told WRTV. "I'd already been in the lazy river and the wave pool and then my sister in law went up to go down the slide. And that's when I was stopped. A supervisor had come up and she said, 'Ma'am, you have to wear a women's bathing suit. You're not allowed to wear men's.'"
She said she was shocked and that being booted from the park was "not right" and "not fair." Sweeny says she was wearing men's swimming trunks, a tank top and a sports bra.
She said she read the park's rules online, which "requires all participants to be in swim suits." The guidelines also say street clothes, like athletic clothing and jeans, are not allowed.
"There's nothing on their site that says gender specific so what's wrong with what I was doing compared to anyone else?" she asked. "There's a lot of females out there that don't like to expose their body and will wear what I had on."
WRTV contacted WildWater Adventure officials and the general manager told the news station Sweeny violated the park's rules.
"A sports bra would not be a swim suit. We require our patrons to wear swim suits and street clothes of any kind would not be allowed," WildWater Adventure general manager Camille Mark told WRTV. here are all kinds of non-gender specific swimwear available. ...According to state guidelines, we do require soap showers and swimwear like all public pools in Michigan."
WRTV told Mark that Sweeny felt she was targeted because she is lesbian.
"I couldn't possibly comment on that. How would anyone be aware of [Sweeney's] sexuality?" Mark asked.
Sweeny showed WRTV photos of people at the park who were in the water but not wearing bathing suits. Mark claims that lifeguards are less likely to notice people wearing the proper swimming attire in the water because there are several people in at the same time.
Sweeny says the park doesn't have any rules about gender specific clothing, however. She called the incident "embarrassing," adding that it "hurts." Sweeny has contacted a number of lawyers who handle discrimination cases, adding she isn't looking for money; just an apology for how she was treated.
In a similar situation, gay porn star Jessie Colter claimed earlier this month that a cop called him "queer," threatened arrest and kicked him out of a waterpark over the hot-red speedos he was wearing.