Hampstead Ladies Pond members vote to remain trans-inclusive by ‘large majority’

A woman walks through the gate of a women-only pond.

Trans women will continue to be permitted to swim at Hampstead Ladies Pond after a committee voted to reject a policy that would have excluded them.

During an annual general meeting on Sunday (3 March), the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association (KLPA) voted to reject a policy that would have redefined the word ‘woman’ “so that only those born female in sex can use the pond”.

Opened in 1926, Hampstead Ladies Pond, located on Hampstead Heath, in north London, is one of the capital’s largest open-air swimming spots.

In 2019, the City of London Corporation (CoLC), which manages the heath, enshrined a policy that formally acknowledged trans people’s right to swim there. Chairman Edward Lord said the move would “ensure our public services do not discriminate against trans people”, adding: “All communities should be fully respected, and equality and basic human rights upheld.”

The proposed new policy would have rescinded the right of trans women to swim in the ladies pond but was defeated by what the committee described as a “large majority” of members.

“The Ladies’ Pond is a space for women and girls. For some years the KLPA – a user group representing the interests of swimmers at the pond – has been committed to helping create and maintain an inclusive environment for all women, including transgender women,” a spokesperson for the group told PinkNews.

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“In line with this policy, all women, including transgender women, are welcome to join the KLPA.”

The spokesperson noted that the association does not have any “executive or administrative power,” which lies with the CoLC. Despite this, KLPA committee votes can help sway policy decisions because it represents the views of the pond’s patrons.