Göttingen to allow women to swim topless in pools after gender identity row

Göttingen to allow women to swim topless in pools after gender identity row

The German city of Göttingen is set to become the first to allow both men and women alike to swim topless in pools, after employees at one sports centre became embroiled in a gender identity row. 

Gender identity row over swimwear in Germany

The sports committee of the central German city in Lower Saxony agreed that, from May 1, all swimmers at indoor and outdoor pools should be allowed to bathe topless at weekends, a spokesperson confirmed. The move will remain in a test phase until August 31. 

The move came after one facility was left unsure how to proceed in a gender identity dispute. According to reports, a swimmer was asked to cover up at a local pool, but protested, saying he identified as male. 

Local authorities appealed to the city for guidelines on how to proceed in such situations. After a lengthy debate, it was decided that the fairest solution was to create certain time frames when all swimmers would be allowed to bathe topless.

Some local residents have said that the move doesn’t go far enough, saying that equality shouldn’t just be for the weekend, but authorities responded that it was necessary to prevent swimming lessons for schools being affected. 

Topless bathing for all a first for German pools

Germany is renowned for its relaxed attitude to nudity, with a substantial proportion of the population attesting to the benefits of FKK (Frei-Körper-Kultur or free body culture), and most saunas implementing a ban on swimwear for hygienic reasons.  

But the new rule is a first for swimming pools, which until now have generally only allowed men to bathe topless. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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