A women-only pool in Sydney has drawn controversy for declaring that only some trans women may use its baths, despite an updated policy.
McIver’s Ladies Baths in Coogee allows only women to swim, as well as children of all genders aged up to 13 years.
This week, the facility was asked via their website to clarify their stance on permitting trans women to entry, replying “Only transgender women who’ve undergone a gender reassignment surgery are allowed entry”.
The baths were slammed for the response, with social media users criticising the policy and asking how the facility planned to enforce a genital-based policy.
Few trans people have undergone genital surgery, for reasons including preference and financial barriers.
Trans people and friends called the policy “transphobic” and “unacceptable”.
Randwick Council, which oversees the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Swimming Association that manages the baths, announced on social media that they supported the inclusion of trans women, using the hashtag #LetThemSwim.
“Randwick Council is an inclusive organisation that values diversity in our community, and have always supported the inclusion of transgender women at McIver’s Ladies Baths,” they tweeted.
“It is our understanding the Association has always had a policy of inclusion and they have recently updated their website to more accurately communicate this inclusive position to the community.”
The policy on the baths’ website has now been updated to state that trans women may use the pool in accordance with the Anti-Discrimination Act, though this still limits use to those who have legally changed their gender, which is not accessible to all.
“Coogee women’s baths are actively excluding trans women,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Today the baths put up an FAQ with exclusionary statement about trans women, then released a revision an hour later which also excludes trans women but hides the fact.”
Trans people, particularly women, frequently report feeling too unwelcome or afraid to swim in public.