Santee celebrates Pride year after controversy over transgender woman's use of YMCA locker room

Santee Mayor John Minto spoke says the city is changing for the better

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In Santee, the LGBTQ community celebrated its 3rd Annual "Pride Walk & Festival" on Saturday, making one year since the controversy over a transgender woman's use of the Santee YMCA’s women's locker room.

It sparked a political battle inside Santee's City Council chambers. Christynne Wood, the transgender woman at the center of the controversy, spoke at the Pride event, addressing her "rainbow children,” a term of endearment to describe her LGBTQ community.

"As we march into history again, I remind you to hydrate, and walk at a comfortable pace," Wood said. "I am your nana 'Chrissy,' and I love you all."

The 66-year-old transgender mother says she represents "good trouble," in the same spirit of the late civil rights leader John Lewis.

“If voting weren't important then why do certain philosophies go out of their way to make it hard, if not impossible to vote?" Wood said. "So that's part of the good trouble. This is part of the good trouble. Bringing entire families here to say, 'You're supported and loved and safe with us.’”

Many folks came out to walk in Santee's 3rd Annual Pride Walk & Festival on June 22, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)

The speaking engagements comes one year after she stood up in the face of bigotry. Wood says she suffered from what she calls a manufactured incident by a teenage girl.

Some took aim at Wood and other transgender women being allowed by state law to use the women's locker room at the Cameron YMCA in Santee. It's where she works out at the swimming pool with her "Aqua Sisters." At the Pride event, Wood gave thanks to those who stood beside her during the controversy.

"The Cameron YMCA and the leadership of the San Ciego County 'Y' rallied to my calls and empowered me to stand in righteous ground against the madness," Wood said.

Santee Mayor John Minto says he caught a lot of heat for standing with LGBTQ rights. He spoke at the event, too. Minto believes the city of Santee is changing for the better.

"And I said you know what? We've been lost for a long time," Minto said. "Santee is a very inclusive place these days. Very tolerant."

Romeo and David Preciado-Camacho are happy to finally see an annual Pride event in their home of Santee.

"There's a lot of open-minded people in our community and where we live. Our neighbors are great," Romeo said.

Attendees walk in Santee's 3rd Annual Pride Walk & Festival on June 22, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)
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