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Famous UK cruising spot allows trans swimmers in gendered pools

Famous UK cruising spot allows trans swimmers in gendered pools

Swimmers at the Ladies Pond at the height of Summer | Photo: Instagram @emilycro

A famous women’s only pool in the UK’s capital city has announced that anyone who identifies as women will now be able to bathe there.

The Ladies Pond on London’s Hampstead Heath will now be open to all women, including those transitioning.

The London park is particularly famous for being the site of the late singer George Michael’s arrest for cruising.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation now confirms those ‘transitioning’ or ‘who identify as women’ can now use the pool and the female changing rooms.

In a statement to the Mail on Sunday they say:

‘Over the last year, all lifeguards and managers at Hampstead Heath ponds have taken transgender awareness training courses. They have been offered to, and taken by, the ponds’ swimming associations as well.

‘We are working with the LGBTQ community to ensure our facilities are fit to serve the needs of everyone.’

Pictures from outside the Ladies Pond at Hampstead Heath | Photo: Instagram @carryonkirstie
Pictures from outside the Ladies Pond at Hampstead Heath | Photo: Instagram @carryonkirstie

But, the decision saw a wave of transphobic remarks made the decision.

Famously trans exclusionary feminist Julie Bindel told the Mail:

‘It is totally unacceptable to allow men who identify as women, but who are otherwise male bodied and socialized as men, to be in a women-only space.

‘I have seen mothers bring their young daughters who are self-conscious about their bodies but want to feel good about swimming and exposing their skin to the sun.

‘The last thing they want is to look behind them and see a male-bodied person pretending to be a woman in order to gawp at them.’

However, Trans organizations have been praising the City of London Corporation who run the pond.

Moreover, the social media account Trans Actual tweeted praise for the corporation in response to the story. They made clear: ‘Trans women are women.’

Local swimmers stand with trans women

Members of the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association are also welcoming transgender women to their bathing pond.

In as statement to the local Ham & High paper, the KLPA committee members say:

‘The KLPA commits to helping create an inclusive environment for all women at the Ladies Pond, including transgender women, which is free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

The association runs regular events including a New Years Day swim. This year was no exception:

Followed their advice and kicked off the year with a dip in the pond

A post shared by Ithaka Cordia (@notesfrommywanders) on

Moreover, responding to the story that came out on New Years day, they say:

‘As we begin to think about how we can provide a trans-friendly swimming environment; it is important to state we welcome trans women to our membership.

‘We understand the process of transition can be complex and difficult. We would wish to act in a supportive and sensitive way. Recognizing the need to provide the option of additional privacy for changing/showering – we have begun discussions with the City about achieving this.

Finally adding:

‘Although it is tempting to assume someone’s gender simply by their appearance; it’s important to try to avoid doing so and to be aware of the needs of genuinely transgender women.’

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