coogee mciver ladies baths pool swimming trans
New South Wales

Ladies’ pool management dumped after trans access debacle

The managing committee of the Sydney ladies’ pool at the centre of a transphobia controversy has been ousted by members.

McIver’s Ladies’ Baths in Coogee came under fire earlier this year after announcing that only trans women who had undergone genital surgery would be allowed entry to the ocean pool.

Community members reacted with outrage, and some questioned whose job would involve inspecting genitals.

Following the backlash, management updated its website to state that trans women “as defined in the NSW Discrimination Act” would be allowed.

At a special meeting last week of the Randwick and Coogee Ladies Swimming Club, which manages the baths, more than 50 members voted unanimously to remove the current management, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

A new interim president and managing committee have been elected to run the venue.

“There had been an authoritarian running of the pool of late, with lots of restrictions and a loss of the welcoming, leisurely atmosphere and spirit the place once had,” said Tracy Grujovic, interim president-elect.

“We want to give the pool back to the community… it had lost its soul and ethos under this management.”

Secretary-elect and long-time volunteer Colleen Kelly said that trans women had previously been welcomed at the pool.

“This pool has survived on the sweat of volunteer women’s backs since 1922,” said Kelly.

“This is the only pool of its kind in Australia that’s a safe space that welcomes all women: migrant women, those with disabilities, women who don’t want to show their bodies publicly.

“We have always accommodated all types of women, including trans women for many years, with no one saying anything until we had a more aggressive response from the current management.”

The ladies’ baths will be closed for renovation and repairs for three months from next Thursday 1 April.

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