Swedish public bath to introduce gender neutral day

Swedish public bath to introduce gender neutral day
Ribersborg bath in Malmö has allowed nude bathing since the 1930s. Photo: Xuanxu/Flickr creative commons
A public bath in Malmö will soon permit mixed-gender nude bathing as well as provide gender neutral changing facilities on one day a month.

Since the 1930s Ribersborg bath at the Ribersborg beach in central Malmö has permitted nude bathing, with men and women kept separate.

But the city council’s leisure department has now decided that on one day a month there should be mixed bathing, in response to a motion from Left Party councillor Hanna Thomé and Feminist Initiative politician Linda Hiltmann, who argued that the current set-up is discouraging and not accessible for transgender people.

The change will start in 2018, and will be a requirement stated in the contract for the next company which takes over the running of the facility, newspaper Sydsvenskan reports.

In the contract it will be stipulated that on the specified day guests should be able to freely choose where they bathe and change in the facility.

“We will require the contractor to ensure accessibility and also that staff have a certain level of knowledge and training in the field,” City of Malmö recreation department head Johan Hermansson told Sydsvenskan.

“Ribersborg bath is an important part of Malmö. It’s very important that you don’t close the door to those who are not gender-specified,” councillor Thomé noted.

Gender neutral changing rooms are a growing phenomenon in Sweden. In October, a high school in the country announced it would build an additional gender neutral locker room to cater for pupils who identify with a gender other than their biological sex or consider themselves neither male nor female.

A transgender pupil at the school had previously been denied access to the girls’ changing room and instead made to change in a small private room.