Story and photos by Ken Stone,Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
January 28, 2023 (Santee) - Former Miss California Carrie Prejean Boller took the lectern at Wednesday’s Santee City Council meeting and declared that she “identified” as Christynne Wood — and thus deserved the same three minutes of public comment time.
Boller, in her mid-30s, followed the real Wood — the 66-year-old transgender woman whose Santee YMCA presence “terrified” a 17-year-old girl in the women’s locker room.
So despite all other speakers being limited to two minutes, Boller ignored her time cutoff and rebuffed efforts by two other women to move her away.
On a night when dozens of friends and allies supported Wood — many with hand-painted signs reading “We (HEART) Chrissy” — the extremes of the issue were on naked display.
Richard Mutch, a Santee resident since 1960 (photo, right), suggested that transgender people need to provide proof of having sex-change surgery. “Until such proof,” he said, “this man is no more than a cross dresser or even a female impersonator.”
Up next came Jason Frye, president of the Humanist Association of San Diego — a political science adjunct professor and “former aqua aerobics instructor.” He ended his remarks to audience laughter: “For those people calling to see people’s genitalia, I want to see your browser history.”
Frye said FBI stats show no transgender people preying on people in locker rooms.
Photo, left: Christynne Wood
“What we do see is vile rhetoric that gives license to hatred and abuse,” he said. “That … leads to suicide attempts and gives license to people to be abusive, puerile and immature.”
For her own part, Wood retold her story and rebutted an account by Rebecca Phillips two weeks earlier that went viral and paved the way for appearances on KUSI-TV and Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Live.”
Wood said she collapsed in tears after seeing the Phillips video of Jan. 11.
“Since then, the amount of organized internet lies to vilify and demonize me and other members of the transgender community has truly been disheartening and disgusting,” she said. “Listen to the sound of my voice. I am a threat to no one.”
She said that in her year as a YMCA member, she’s been with many girls, parents and grandparents in the locker room, and “there has never been an incident — ever.”
“I am sorry that this forum was previously used to spread lies and a hateful … agenda,” said Wood, wearing a red-heart dress. “In the words of Maya Angelou: A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy and refuses to be anyone’s victim.”
Photo, right: Supporters cheer Wood
Later, in the parking lot outside council chambers, Wood was less diplomatic.
“I was already gone before the little witch came out,” Wood said. “Lies from the very beginning.”
Her water aerobics instructor, Peggy Wiley, had told the council earlier that she witnessed the Dec. 29 incident described by Phillips on Jan. 11.
“This young lady was in the shower, doing her business, while we were out … getting dressed together. … And Chrissy left, and the young girl opened up the shower curtain, asking if that was a man. I said, ‘No, that’s a woman.’ So I assumed that she didn’t see anything who Chrissy was.”
Phillips, who hasn’t responded to Times of San Diego requests for comment, was depicted as a victim by friends and foe.
Monique, a mother of three daughters, said Phillips was done a major disservice.
“She saw something that nobody had educated her about,” the mom said. “Rebecca went home, and instead of being educated what transgender was, she was prompted to come to City Hall, where her story was inflated and many lies were told. And Rebecca knows in her heart that this happened.”
Monique, who met Wood at last Wednesday’s protest, slammed news stories, signs and “council members” that spread lies about a 17-year-old seeing a penis.
“Tracie Thill, who put the egregious Y protest together, has worked as a special education assistant but was fired from her job because she refused to keep children safe by testing weekly for COVID,” Monique said.
Thill was among eight speakers critical of Santee YMCA policies or transgender rights.
“This city leases the property and building of the YMCA for $1 per year,” Thill told the mainly silent five council members. “You have the option of not renewing that lease.”
She called for an agenda item at an upcoming meeting that ends the lease to the Cameron Family YMCA “until a policy is changed so that biological men stay out of women’s locker rooms and bathrooms.”
One speaker quoted Jesus on how some eunuchs are born that way and others choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
“Those who can accept this should accept it,” he said. “What we’re dealing with, though, is not that. … Where do we draw the line?”
Corbin Sabol (photo, right), who lost his race for the 79th Assembly District in November, agreed that Wood wasn’t a threat to anybody.
“But at the end of the day,” he said, “if society is going to continue to function … we have to agree on basic fundamental things.”
He said people can disagree all day long on vaccine issues or abortion issues, “but if we cannot agree that (a certain council member was wearing) a blue and gold tie and two plus two equals four and a man is a man and a woman is a woman, then we are heading to uncharted and potentially disastrous territory (that) we have never experienced … before in history.”
A speaker introduced as Brit bemoaned a “war on women.”
“An ideology based on feelings rather than biology … is unsustainable and it’s dangerous,” Brit said. “If everyone can be a woman, then no one is a woman. … If I identify as vice mayor, am I legally vice mayor? Do I get to sit right beside you?”
Boller — who sparked controversy at the 2009 Miss USA pageant by declaring that marriage should only be between a man and a woman — told the council: “The enemy is this guy in high heels, lipstick and a shaved beard …. trying to redefine words.”
Photo, right: Carrie Prejean Boller
“This is a spiritual, psychological war,” she said. “Cultural appropriation is wrong and gender appropriation is wrong.”
She went on to say: “There’s no such thing as a transitioning gender. That is a made-up fantasy. It doesn’t matter if you chopped your penis off. It doesn’t make you a woman. It makes you unwell.”
Amid the struggle with two others to get her to stop, Boller yelled: “We’re not going to bow down to your gender ideology cult. … You guys, while you still have your balls, do something about it.”
As Mayor John Minto’s gavel sounded, Boller shouted: “That’s what the Left gets you, you guys. This is the tolerant Left.”
Photo, left: Carrie Prejean Boller defies request to stop
One of the women trying to remove Boller was Santee mom Danielle Wilkerson (photo, right). She was the next speaker but asked for 30 seconds to regain her composure, saying she was “a little shook up.”
“What I just listened to was incredibly disrespectful. Incredibly hateful,” Wilkerson said. “And this woman has the audacity to call herself a Christian? … This woman is more of a threat than any trans person could ever be.”
After hearing the last of 13 speakers defend Wood, Mayor Minto said he and Vice Mayor Laura Koval had met with the YMCA and conferred with the city’s legal team.
“We are going to make sure that everybody is safe and everybody is valued in our community,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. We don’t know what that looks like yet, but we’re gonna get there.”
Photo, right: Christynne Wood supporter
Photo, left: Sheriff's deputies deal with a disturbance in hallway
Photo, right: Andy and Laura Newbre of Santee painted 26 signs
Photo, left: teacher reads message from Santana High School LGBTQ allies.