LID Condemns Discriminatory Public Facilities Policy in Williamsburg

Yesterday, Community Board 1 voted to allow separate swim times for women and men at the NYC Parks Department’s Metropolitan Pool in Williamsburg. This policy of gender segregation stigmatizes and excludes transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary persons (“TGNB”). LID strongly urges CB1 to reverse this decision. This is not a progressive policy.

The women’s only swim time has existed for several years. It has rightly drawn widespread condemnation, including from the New York Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times Editorial Board. There are valid cultural and religious reasons, such as among Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox population, for contemplating separation. But it should not take place at public pools, which are meant to be open to all persons, regardless of gender, at all times.

TGNB people already deal with a great deal of harassment from police, ill-considered government policies, and intolerant members of the public. Gender segregated public areas, such as locker rooms and restrooms, already pose a significant hurdle. By definition, these spaces exclude people who do not identify with either gender or have experienced trauma in such spaces. At a time when our community is vigorously fighting to protect our siblings, we are strongly opposed to new policies that stigmatize and exclude members of our community from public spaces.