Campbell County Says Rec Center Locker Rooms Are For Biological Sex Only

After weeks of local debate in the Gillette community, the Campbell County Parks and Recreation Board passed a new policy last week restricting locker room access to a user's biological sex.

Leo Wolfson

May 07, 20244 min read

The Campbell County Recreation Center in Gillette, Wyoming.
The Campbell County Recreation Center in Gillette, Wyoming. (Campbell County Parks and Recreation)

People will no longer be allowed to use any bathroom they choose or identify with at the Campbell County Recreation Center in Gillette, Wyoming.

That’s the result of a policy change unanimously approved by the Campbell County Parks and Recreation Board last week that defines a person’s sex as their biological sex at birth, and includes definitions for male and female regarding gender use of bathrooms.

The policy, which “acknowledges and respects the distinctions between the sexes,” had been in the works since someone reported to Rec Center staff seeing a transgender woman in a women’s locker room this past winter, said Campbell County Parks and Recreation Executive Director Dwayne Dillenger.

The report sparked a lengthy debate in the community over public bathroom use in the facility.

“Some people were not necessarily comfortable with a transgender individual being in the offices of their location,” Dillenger told Cowboy State Daily.

The policy designates that women’s locker rooms can only be used by a person “whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova and/or who exhibits XX chromosomes and does not exhibit a Y chromosome.”

Men’s locker rooms can only be used by people “whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female and/or who exhibits XY chromosomes or who exhibits a Y chromosome.”

Larger Issue

This change mirrors some of the What Is A Woman Act legislation proposed by state Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper, during the 2024 legislative session that would have required people to only use the bathroom associated with their gender at birth in public spaces statewide.

In a Facebook post, the Wyoming Freedom Caucus celebrated the Campbell County decision and criticized the 19 Republicans who voted against Ward’s bill.

Many criticized the bill as unnecessary and seeking to address an issue irrelevant to Wyoming.

Dillenger rejects the notion that his board was trying to make a political statement and said his department’s goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for all customers.

“We’re just trying to provide an area where everyone feels safe,” he said.

Transgender access to gender-defined spaces has become a growing discussion in America, extending to issues like athletics, bathrooms and organizational membership.

Although Ward’s bill didn’t gain much traction, the Wyoming Legislature passed legislation in 2023 forbidding transgender females from participating in female youth sports in Wyoming.

Middle Ground

The Rec Center will still accommodate at least some of everyone’s needs by continuing to provide a universal changing area welcome to all users. Ward’s bill did nothing to provide or address these facilities.

“We want to find ways to make everyone comfortable,” Dillenger said. “We want to provide a place for people to change and do what they need to do.”

The universal changing areas, also known as family locker rooms, have private changing stalls with doors that go down all the way to the floor, as well as private rooms with showers and toilets.

Dillenger said the universal changing areas are actively used by many different patrons, such as an elderly couple that helps each other change, a blind man and caregivers working for handicapped clients.

Although there were more than 30 local residents who spoke on the locker room issue earlier in April, Dillenger said only four testified at last week’s meeting finalizing the policy change.

Although he said most of the people who testified supported the change, Dillenger admitted that some members of the public are still unhappy that transgender people will be allowed to use the universal changing areas.

He said it’s impossible to please everyone and pointed out that federal law prevents the Rec Center from prohibiting certain people from entering and using their facilities based on their sexual identity.

There are also exceptions built into the policy for emergency medical situations, ongoing natural disasters and people performing custodial or maintenance work.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter