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London: New trans swimming club set to launch

Anastasia Kyriacou September 30, 2014

A new swimming club for the trans community is launching on Friday in south-east London.

The Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Swimming Group (TAGS) has confirmed exclusive use of a pool at Glassmill Leisure Centre, Lewisham.

The pool, which is believed to be the first of its kind in London, provides a private and safe swimming environment for trans people, as well as gender-specific and gender-neutral training facilities.

Participants will have an hour and a half for swimming and sessions will cost around £3.20. Young people’s carers or parents are welcome to swim or spectate.

Pool staff will be trained by TAGS to ensure gender issues are treated sensitively and TAGS representatives will welcome and direct swimmers.

TAGS is a voluntary organisation from the Gendered Intelligence Volunteer Society.

Volunteer Roberta Francis said: “I felt there was a big need for a swimming group in London to allow trans and gender non ­conforming people the opportunity to have access to a safe space.

“Being able to swim is a basic right but for many trans people it can be really difficult because of how we are treated in the community as a whole”.

Gendered Intelligence spokesperson Jay Stewart added: “We know physical activity reduces mental distress. This is such a huge factor in trans people’s lives due to the pressures to conform to gender norms. I feel incredibly proud that this initiative has been led by some of our volunteers at Gendered Intelligence.

“The Gendered Intelligence Volunteer Scheme is all about strengthening the wider trans community and this is doing exactly that.”

All information for the TAGS swimming group can be found on their Facebook page. Their first swimming session commences this Friday, 3 October at 8.30pm.

More: gender-neutral pool, Glassmill Leisure centre, Lewisham, TAGS, trans swimming pool, transgender pool

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