Sydney pool slammed for transgender rule
A popular women's only pool in Sydney's eastern suburbs is facing a backlash after saying that transgender customers would only be allowed in if they've had gender reassignment surgery.
The McIver's Ladies Baths in Coogee uploaded the rule onto a FAQ section of its website, stoking hundreds of angry comments directed towards its management on social media.
Under a headline titled "Are transgender women allowed?" the website stated: "Only transgender women who've undergone a gender reassignment surgery are allowed entry."
Overnight thousands of people have taken to the pool's Facebook page to express their anger at the rule, arguing that is discriminatory and would be impossible to enforce.
"The 'drop your pants so we can check' policy is breathtakingly offensive, and evidence of extremely outdated, reductive and classist thinking," one person wrote.
"I'm happy to swim with non-op trans women any day of the week (and yes, before the trolls go bonkers, I can and will do so at other pools); not happy with your dodgy reductive policy."
"As a long-time swimmer at the pools I am really disgusted and upset by this policy, wrote another. "I've always enjoyed McIver's because I've seen it as safe and accessible haven for so many in Sydney. Your website says a 'safe space for all women' but this policy says another."
"This is deeply shameful, exclusionary and has changed my perception of you from a safe space for women to one that is highly unsafe," added a third. "You should be deeply ashamed about this."
There is also confusion about how the rule would be enforced.
On the pool's website, it states that full nudity is prohibited by NSW law.
"Swimming bottoms must be worn at all times in the pool, and around the grounds. Violators may be asked to leave," it states. "Topless swimming and sunbaking is allowed; though we do ask that patrons are considerate of their environment and the comfort levels of people around them."
However, there appeared to be some support for the pool management amid a wave of criticism.
"Thank you for upholding the rights of women and girls," one commenter wrote.
"Many thanks McIver's. Women and girls value the opportunity to have spaces that are for women and girls only. These spaces are rare and it hurts no one," added another.
Amid the backlash, the information on the pool's website has changed.
Under the section about transgender women, it now reads: "McIver's Ladies Baths has an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act awarded in 1995. Only women and children (boys up to 13 years of age) are permitted entry."
It is unclear whether the rules for transgender women have actually changed and on the pool's social media page, its management has told customers requests for any information regarding transgender people needs to be directed to Randwick City Council.
On its website, the pool management says the baths are a place of "healing, acceptance, and security" for women and children.
"Historically, our pool was one of very few places where women were allowed to swim," it reads. "Protecting this special place for women has been the work of many generations of women. Today it provides a safe place for women of many ages, religions, and backgrounds."
The McIver's Ladies Baths is located on Crown land and sub-leased to the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Swimming Association who are ultimately responsible for management and entry to the baths.
A Randwick City Council spokesperson told news.com.au: "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.
"It is our understanding the Association has always had a policy of inclusion and we have been in contact with the management of the baths to ask them to more accurately communicate this inclusive position on the issue on their website."
News.com.au has contacted the pool management for comment and clarification around the rules.
Originally published as Sydney pool slammed for transgender rule