• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden's first LGBT pool makes a loud splash

The Local · 23 Jan 2015, 15:59

Published: 23 Jan 2015 15:59 GMT+01:00

The public swimming pool, which is in the suburb of Sundbyberg, has created a new changing room, designed to be used by Stockholm's gay and transgender community.
 
The area will also be open to disabled people who would prefer more privacy, or who want to take carers of different genders into the cubicle with them to help them change. Members of religious groups who would prefer to change without being seen by others are also welcome in the new zone.
 
The swimming pool will retain its other two changing areas for men and women.
 
"We did this because we wanted to be inclusive for everyone," Fredrik Richard, a press spokesman for the local council in Sundbyberg told The Local on Friday.
 
"People do not always feel comfortable visiting swimming pools and sport places and we hope this will give people more choice. This is the first sports building like this in Sweden and we are pleased we have had a lot of attention from SVT [Sweden's national public broadcaster] and major newspapers."
 
He said he was not aware of any other similar initiatives by local councils in Sweden or elsewhere in the world.
 
Sweden already has a global reputation for tolerance and gender equality and some secondary schools already include a third changing area for people who do not wish to use traditional segregated areas.
 
The country also recently formally recognized a new word 'hen', which is a gender-neutral pronoun that can be used to describe transgender people and others who do not wish to be classified according to their sex. 'Han' and 'hon' are the Swedish words for 'he' and 'she'.
 
Sundbyberg's swimming pool has been formally certified as LBGT-friendly by RFSL, Sweden's national association for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Founded in 1950, it is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the world.
 
"The most important thing is that all people who want to, are able to come here and swim," Isander Freiman from RFSL told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Thursday.
 
She is among those who have helped train staff at the pool, to make them better aware of the needs and concerns of the LBGT community and described the pool's opening as "an incredibly important" moment.
 
"I hope that the rest of Sweden will follow," she added.
 
"I've learned a lot myself - about how I can behave more like a human being and provide better treatment in some ways that I didn't think of before," the swimming pool's manager Mikael Eljenmyr told SVT.
 

Inside the swimming pool. Photo: Sundbyberg Stad
Story continues below…
 
Sundbyberg has already hit the headlines in Sweden for opening an RFSL-approved library designed with Stockholm's gay and transgender community in mind.
 
The suburb's Social Democrat Mayor Jonas Nygren has spoken about a desire to develop even more facilities that promote diversity.
 
"The next step is to see how we can make our preschool, elderly care and schools...more inclusive and more open," he told SVT.
 
The new changing rooms will formally open to the public on Friday January 30th.
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,390
jobs available