A Safe Place for Some

Transgender woman underwater with 'Let Them Swim' slogan covering genital area

McIver’s Ladies Baths in Coogee were quick to respond to the public outcry around their poorly considered and invasive policy on transgender women. It’s understood the baths required trans women to have undergone complete gender affirming bottom surgery before entry which for anyone who consider what’s between their legs, their business, an incredible violation of privacy.

This was swiftly overturned after the #letthemswim petition championed by supporters gained over 10K+ signatures.

To be clear, it’s a dangerous misconception that transgender people require or desire gender affirming surgery to live as their authentic selfs. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise considering transgender people have existed sans a few labels since day dot and long before surgery was ever an option.

“I am hopeful for a future where transphobia will be erased, but we have a long way to go before this is achievable.”

We need to stay mindful that inclusive of trans mob gender is a spectrum not a binary and being transgender doesn’t void you of this reality. If an individual chooses to use their power to impose toxic gender norms to an already vulnerable community it’s probably time for some serious self reflection.

For the transgender people who do choose to pursue the personal journey of gender affirming surgery it is undoubtably a profoundly private matter with a considerable price tag in the arena of $30,000. Needless to say, this isn’t conversation to be had with the random pool staff on your way to get some salt water meditation and vitamin D.

A Word from Petina Smith

PETINA SMITH IS A PROUD TRANSGENDER WOMAN AND BOARD MEMBER OF BLAQ ABORIGINAL CORPORATION. SADLY PETINA LIKE SO MANY IS NO STRANGER TO DISCRIMINATION IN A POOL SETTING.

“In light of the recent public statement/comment made by the Coogee Women’s Baths, regarding requirements upon entry for transgender women. It is evident that this is ignorant, divisive, discriminative, invasive and abhorrent.

Like seriously!

How would these requirements be policed? Can you imagine if a heterosexual woman was afforded the same treatment?

Trans women are women! And if your gender specific pools aren’t trans women inclusive then this is blatant discrimination.

It was only after community outrage and public pressure that these statements/comments have since been removed. I empathise with the one’s who have had to deal with these unfortunate events first handedly knowing of the humiliation, degradation and condemnation through no fault of their own, for simply just trying to be their true authentic selves.

I am hopeful for a future where transphobia will be erased, but we have a long way to go before this is achievable.

The only cure for ignorance is education!”

Newspaper clipping of Bourke Bowling Club’s public apology to BLAQ Board Member Petina Smith.
Newspaper clipping of Bourke Bowling Club’s public apology to BLAQ Board Member Petina Smith.

Petina’s experience of transphobic discrimination at the hand of her local bowling club was not dissimilar to the Coogee Women’s Baths narrative when they requested her to cover her cleavage to enter. The entitlement these venues have to the trans body is questionable to say the least. It really begs the question, why isn’t more being done to legislate transgender inclusion and protection so we can prevent this from ever happening again?

“For more information on #letthemswim follow Janet Anderson @planet_janett”

BLAQ Aboriginal Corporation want to publicly state we stand firmly against all forms of transphobia and discrimination that serve to devalue or harm the First Nations LGBTQ+ community.

IN SOLIDARITY WITH OUR TRANSGENDER FAMILY.

YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE SACRED, XO

Story Source: BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation

Written by: Petina Smith & Jessica Johnson

Story Image: Zoe Terakes @zoeterakes

BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation was established as a collective response to the identified need for strengthened visibility of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQ+ community.

close

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

We’re sorry!

We hate annoying pop-up windows too, but before you hit the x button, please take three seconds and subscribe to our website for free. We’re a team of dedicated volunteer journalists and we’d really appreciate your support by supporting us by subscribing below. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

We’re sorry!

We hate annoying pop-up windows too, but before you hit the x button, please take three seconds and subscribe to our website for free. We’re a team of dedicated volunteer journalists and we’d really appreciate your support by supporting us by subscribing below.