January 11, 2015 11:47 pm

Vancouver hosts its first trans-inclusive public swim


WATCH ABOVE: Another step forward in the fight to end discrimination against members of the transgender community. A Vancouver pool has become the first to hold a trans-inclusive public swim. Nadia Stewart reports.

The Vancouver Park Board hosted its first trans-inclusive public swim on Sunday, as part of a pilot project to make the city’s recreational facilities and programs more inclusive.

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The board says it has been working on the initiative since last year, but the need for more inclusive programs and services was first identified in 2012, when the board was laying out its strategic plan. Thomas Soulliere, the board’s director of recreation, says they heard from residents – particularly those in the trans and gender-variant community – that accessibility was an issue.

“This particular segment of the population that has felt, maybe not as welcomed and maybe in some cases, unwelcomed in some of the programming and facilities that we have in the city,” said Souilliere.

“Completely unintentional on the part of our staff, but something that we recognize that we had to improve upon.”

The special swim was hosted at the Templeton Park Pool for two hours on Sunday. Kai Scott, co-chair of the Trans and Gender Variant Inclusion Working Group, agrees a program like this was overdue.

“I worry about the people who aren’t coming, the trans and gender variant people who have had really awful experiences. So, I’m really motivated to change that for them.”

Scott said the goal is to make this a regular program.

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