Sydney pool questioned over invasive transgender rules

A Sydney pool has been inundated with questions after they posted a policy on their website saying only transgender women who had “undergone a gender reassignment surgery” could access their facilities.

McIver’s Ladies Baths in the Sydney suburb of Coogee has a long history. According to a National Trust report on the baths, they have been used as a spot for bathing for women since before 1876.

The baths situated on rocks alongside the ocean themselves were built in 1886. The McIver family ran the baths until 1922 when the Randwick Ladies Amateur Swimming Club was formed. The club took over the lease and has held it since that time.

Now the group running the facility has issued new directives on who can use them.

Under a headline titled “Are transgender women allowed?” the website declared, “Only transgender women who’ve undergone a gender reassignment surgery are allowed entry.”

The statement generated a lot of questions on how the policy would policed, and how staff would be checking whether transgender women had undergone surgery. They was also concern that cis-gendered women who did not look sufficiently feminine might also be questioned about their bodies.

As the organisation’s Facebook page filled up with feedback from people unimpressed with their policy, a new update was added to the FAQ section of their site referring inquiries to the Randwick City Council.

“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. If you wish to make any further inquiries please contact the Randwick City Council.” the updated read.

Speaking to OUTinPerth a spokesperson for the council said they believed the organisation running the pool had always been inclusive and reported that the council had requested them to update their website to express this.

“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.” the spokesperson said.

“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.”

The Randwick and Coogee Ladies Swimming Association didn’t respond to OUTinPerth‘s inquiries but on Tuesday their website had been updated for a third time to say they would comply with the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

“Yes. Transgender women are welcome to the McIver’s Ladies Baths, our definition for transgender is as per the NSW Discrimination Act.” the latest update reads.

OIP Staff

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