• anonymous woman

I am very troubled by something relating to a Facebook Page for "the Kenwood Ladies' Pond". There is a men's pond, a mixed pond, and a women's pond on Hampstead Heath in London. They are all open to (biological) men.

I feel that the women's pond is supposed to be a safe space. There are open showers there. Ever since I discovered it was open to any man claiming to identify as a woman, it no longer feels that this is a safe space for women.

(I started swimming there at a time when I was experiencing severe depression after withdrawing from some medication which left me low on dopamine. Once my dopamine levels were restored, I recovered. But in the meantime, the daily cold water swimming lifted my mood miraculously, and gave me quality of life and functionality. I'm sure that there are many women who go there for similar reasons.)

When I saw a post on the Facebook page relating to "inclusivity" at the women's pond, saying that prior posts which some women had posted which "could have been read as transphobic" (which had been removed by the administrators), I decided to post a link relating to sex-based rights. I didn't see how that could be interpreted as "transphobic", and of course it is very informative.

It wasn't long before someone inserted a censoring post in the comments. Looking at this person's Facebook page, I think it seems to be a man. So I am left with this feeling that men are patrolling the FB page for the women's pond!

This evening, I got a push notification that someone had made a comment on my post, but I discovered that my post was removed. I feel that I have been censored and that the information I had provided through the link was being wilfully withheld on that page, although it is extremely relevant to all the female users of the pond. It seems evident to me that access of biological men is being prioritised over the need for a safe space that is felt by at least some of the (biological) women swimmers. The deletion of my post - which they would have difficulty in trying to classify as "transphobic", and posts by other women that "could be interpreted as transphobic" constitutes a silencing and erasure of women. (At least I haven't been banned from their FB page! Yet.)

Update: I decided to send screenshots to Fair Play for Women, who posted about this, responding to Kenwood Ladies' Pond FB page. They pointed out that concern with inclusivity at the Women's Pond shouldn't exclude a significant proportion of women (referring to those for example who have experienced sexual assault, and members of religious groups who need privacy. I used to go to a pool which had a women-only swimming session once a week, and that would be the only session that religious Jewish and Muslim women would attend.)

Early this morning, I found that I had been locked out of the KLP Facebook group altogether! For advocating for the inclusivity of women traumatised by male assault, and religious minorities who require modesty! They have 2,800 members, and I have been locked out for pointing out that there are vulnerable women and religious women who required same-sex changing areas.

#unitedkingdom #hamsteadheath #kenwoodladiespond #swimming #changingrooms #facebookgroups #virtualspaces #malemoderators