A group of British women decided to “self-identify” as men, to infiltrate a men-only swimming session. The pair entered the pool topless as a protest after officials allowed men claiming to be transgender women, to enter the women’s pool.
The two female protesters launched their protest on March 16 at a South London pool, by entering the men-only swimming session while wearing only a swim cap and swim trunks, the Daily Mail reported.
The two women, 30-year-old Amy Desir, and her friend who only went by the name Hannah, told officials they “identify as men” to gain access to the pool. The women entered through the men’s changing room and joined 20 men during the men-only swimming session.
“We are doing it to highlight the ridiculous and dangerous move towards self-identification,” Desir told the media. “We are clearly not men, but by saying we are, we were allowed to join in men-only activities.”
Desir noted that most of the men tried to ignore the invading women, but one elderly gentleman did ask if the women knew they were attending the men-only swimming time?
“He asked me if I knew it was men only. I told him I was a man and he said, ‘Oh really?’ It was a very British response,” Desir said. “We are not deliberately trying to offend anyone but raise awareness.”
Hannah, 39, said she had never been an activist for any cause before.
“I’ve never been an activist, and I’m incredibly nervous about doing this, but the issue prompted me to take action,” Hannah said. “It is about safety and dignity – people have a right to segregated areas. It is not enough to say I am a man and use male changing rooms or vice versa.”
Hannah noted that she had emailed pool officials to ask what the rules were for people who self-identified as another gender, and was told that customers could pick any changing room that made them comfortable.
“Any customer is free to use the changing room they feel necessary for themselves. We do our best to avoid modern prejudices. However, opinions vary given the diversity of our customer base,” the official said via a return email. “If you wish to attend the Friday evening sessions you would do so with the full support of the team.”
Desir’s pool protest came after she tried to organize local women to oppose the new transgender rules with a petition showing concern over the proposed Gender Recognition Act.
“We’d like a mass protest at the Hampstead male-only pool, maybe when it gets warmer,” Desir said. “We’d also like to gain access to one of the men-only clubs in London.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.