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  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

[Moderator's note: at the recent IWD 2022 meeting in Brisbane, a recurring theme was that violation of women-only spaces wasn't always being done by trans-identified men, but sometimes by other women, acting on behalf of merely _hypothetical_ trans-identified men. That is to say, some women are destroying single-sex spaces for all women. I think this submission really captures that problem...]

The City of London has decided that any male self-identifying as a woman may use this pond. I was stickering at the entrance as a protest, with stickers stating "This is a single-sex service under the Equality Act 2010. Please respect women's & girls' privacy" and defining "woman" as an adult human female. It made me feel safer before going in there. The staff caught on that it was me, and requested that I protest in other ways. All of the staff there, bar one, are fabulous, and all of the other lifeguards are my heroes.

The one who isn't fabulous (a short-haired woman who came in with a bull terrier) gave me strange looks a number of times one day, which I took little notice of. But then she came into the changing room while I was showering and getting dressed after my swim, 2 or 3 times, and the last time - I was naked waist-down - she took a long and hard look at my crotch as she walked past me. She was with the lifeguard who wished to speak to me about the stickering, and yelled at me: "How do you know I'm not trans!" If she had given me a chance to answer, I would have said that I really don't care how she identifies. I only care about women's sex-based spaces being safe from the intrusion of males.

As it happens, it seems there is only one male who claims to identify as trans who uses the women's pond (upon going there one day, the first thing I heard was a man's voice talking loudly - and the lifeguards told me he was a trans women), who as far as I'm concerned, falls into the same category as all other males who invade women's space. It seems others who wish to identify as "trans women" either don't find the pond appealing, or are respectful enough not to go there if they know that there are women who will feel unsafe or who will not go there because of their presence. In this case (as in so many cases) it was the female trans activist (the one who stared long and hard at my naked crotch) who violated my right to privacy, and made it an unpleasant and unsafe space.

I have just had a biopsy and am waiting for the result. Today I am badly depressed. I need to go to the pond because it provides an instant lift to my depression. It is beautiful there. But the prospect does not altogether feel pleasant - in case this trans activist member of staff is there. The last time I went, she was cleaning in the women's showers the whole time I was there. I am grateful to her for keeping it clean - but I decided to shower outside, and went in a cubicle to change. In future, I think I'll just shower and change outside and not use the showers or changing area.


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