By AMBER GRIFFIN
The City of Sydney will investigate hosting their own trans and gender diverse swim nights after the neighbouring Inner West Council’s first-ever inclusive swim night in April was hailed as a resounding success.
A motion calling on council officers to evaluate the capacity for the City to host their own trans and gender diverse swim nights was tabled by Greens councillor Sylvie Ellsmore and seconded by Labor councillor Linda Scott at a meeting earlier in May, which received unanimous support from the council chamber.
Cr Ellsmore told City Hub that events such as a trans and gender diverse swim night would be a way to show solidarity but also practical support for people living in the inner-city, saying that the City is looking at ways to ensure that its facilities can be more inclusive.
“Unfortunately we are starting from a place where [inclusion] hasn’t been the norm, there is a lot of work to do,” Cr Ellsmore said.
“The swim nights will show solidarity as a gesture of welcoming and love for our transgender and gender diverse communities to say you are welcome in these public spaces and we [the council] want to make sure you know that and put that up in lights.”
Swim nights not the ‘real work’ for better inclusion: Ellsmore
This motion followed the success of the Inner West Council’s inaugural trans and gender diverse swim night at the Ashfield Aquatic Centre, with the City now aiming to implement the event for their constituents.
The motion also asked for City chief executive Monica Barone to draft a report about the feasibility of the City of Sydney holding one or more trans and gender diverse swim nights at council pools, including advice about whether this can be accommodated in the 2023 council budget. The matter is set to be discussed again in the June council meeting.
While the motion was carried unanimously, Cr Ellsmore said that there is much more work to be done.
“While the swim night is a special event and it’s nice to celebrate them, the real work is going to be changing the way that Sydney’s pools, toilets, change rooms and facilities are structured so that they’re genuinely inclusive and that we won’t need to have these swim nights to reaffirm that they are welcome, they will just know they are welcome.”