Hampstead Heath Ladies' Pond opens up to transgender swimmers

Hampstead Heath

The pond has been single-sex only since 1926

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Transgender swimmers will have access to London's famous Hampstead Heath Ladies' Pond for the first time.

City of London Corporation have announced plans to allow anyone who identifies as female to use the facility, which has been frequented by the likes of Kate Moss, Helena Bonham-Carter and Emma Thompson.

The council say the move to open up the pond - which has been single-sex only since 1926 - will ensure a "robust and consistent approach" to gender identity.

Edward Lord, chair of the establishment committee, which leads on the City Corporation’s workforce and inclusion policies, said: "All communities should be fully respected, and equality and basic human rights upheld.

"We aspire to be a leader in diversity, equality and inclusion."

He continued: "We are committed to building and supporting a strong, sustainable and cohesive society in the capital and beyond, and this policy will take us one step further towards realising this vision."

The news has been welcomed by many, with supporters saying it will provide transgender people with a safe space to swim.

"I think their safety would be more compromised in male spaces than mine would be by having trans women in a female space with me," one supporter said.

However, the new policy has also attracted criticism.

One Muslim woman said she would no longer be able to use the pool if transgender women were allowed in.

"My nieces are not allowed to be uncovered around men and will not be able to learn to swim," she said.

"Muslim girls are put at risk and discriminated against by this change."

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