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Trans campaigners slam women kicked out of lido for ‘self-identifying’ as men for the day

Ella Braidwood May 30, 2018

People enjoy the sunshine, swimming in a lido on Hampstead Heath in central London on August 1, 2013. Temperatures are expected to rise above 30 degrees celsius Thursday in the south-east of England. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE (Photo credit should read ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images)

Trans rights campaigners have criticised a group of women who were kicked out of a men’s lido in north London after ‘self-identifying’ as male for the day.

The group of about 20 women – one wearing a fake beard and another dressed in a mankini – jumped into the men’s pool in Hampstead Heath on Sunday to protest against a new rule that allows trans women to swim in the female pond, as well as the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

But police were called in within 15 minutes and escorted the women out of the men’s lido.

The group said they were identifying as men for the day as part of a nationwide campaign set up on Mumsnet, called ‘Man Friday’, that encourages women to dress up and ‘self-identify’ as men for the day.

(Katie97531200/Twitter)

Speaking to PinkNews, Natacha Kennedy, an LGBT activist and trans woman, said: “The #ManFriday stunts are profoundly dishonest and are misrepresenting trans people.”

“Reform of the Gender Recognition Act will not allow people to identify as a man or a woman for a day, it will mean making a legal declaration that you intend to change your gender for life.”

Hampstead Heath announced that trans women would be allowed to swim in the female pond in December.

Sarah Brown, a member of Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group and a trans woman, told PinkNews: “This is obviously a stunt aimed at mocking trans people, and trying to make us scared to participate fully on leisure activities.

(akmd87/Twitter)

“[The women behind] ‘Man Friday’ say they’re protesting changes to the Gender Recognition Act, but that is purely about birth certificates and they are misleading people.

“Trans people already have a tough time finding acceptance in society. Stunts like this risk making the problem worse.”

Amy Desir, 30, who led the protest, told the Daily Mail: ‘We are here to raise awareness. There’s a legal consultation due to come out this summer asking for the law to change to say that any man that says he is a woman can get all the legal protections that women do.’
“We’re clearly not men, but we’ve just been allowed in by Hampstead’s own policy,’ Desir added. “Women’s safeguarding has gone out the window.”
The government is planning to launch a consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act in the coming weeks.
Theresa May last year announced plans to consult on changes to the Gender Recognition Act to streamline the process that allows transgender people to change their legal gender, after a report called for a ‘self-identification’ system.

More: hampstead heath, trans rights

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