All Bodies Swim

All Bodies Swim

Saturday, July 23rd from 8:45-10:45pm


This is the second annual Alt Pride All Bodies Swim! AltPride organizers would like to acknowledge the imperfectness of this event, and all of our endeavours as we seek to create and change spaces for the safety and dignity of our community members. This is not a disclaimer, but an invitation to participate in making mistakes with us, and committing to and engaging in radical forms of community accountability. We have organized this event within an oppressive colonial system, on Stolen W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen Territories, and at a recreation centre that is held to its own institutional rules and practices. We have done our very best to ensure the safety of everyone attending to the best of our abilities. This includes:

  • closing the pool to the general (drop-in) public during the event;
  • posting Safer Spaces guidelines* (see below) here and at the event;
  • booking gender neutral and mobility accessible changing and pool facilities;
  • covering public facing windows to control who sees your body;
  • providing Safer Spaces volunteers that you can check in with face-to-face or call on if you need anything;
  • free storage for belongings;
  • space for non-swimming folks to socialize;
  • ensuring all staff have read and signed our safer spaces agreement;
  • ensuring all lifeguards on duty have had queer and trans inclusion training; and
  • providing the lifeguards on duty with training material about All Bodies Swim – why it matters and how to be respectful of pronouns and body diversity.

We know that despite all of this, there is still no way we can guarantee a completely safe-feeling experience for everyone who attends. As organizers and community members we ask that you hold us accountable before, during, and after this event to our original intentions and also your needs as a community member. Please contact us if you notice anything that we’ve missed, or communicate it to one of the organizers or safer-spaces people at the event if you’re comfortable. We’ll do our best to correct mistakes and/or address concerns in the moment, and we welcome all of the feedback and criticism folks may have after the event as well. Because this is our first time hosting an event like this at Gordon Head Rec, community dialogue is essential in helping to create future All Bodies Swims that celebrate, service, and liberate even more of our community members.

Join us for AltPride’s first All Bodies Swim 3:00 – 6:00 pm at Esquimalt Pool to celebrate all of our bodies, however they look and move. Our goal is to create a Safer/Safe Enough Space for folks who are queer, trans, racialized, differently abled, require mobility aids, and/or are scarred, hairy, fat, pierced, inked, poor, and more to swim around and enjoy their awesome bodies! This event is open to all community members, their children, and their chosen families who want to treat all bodies with dignity and respect. This means following our Safer Spaces guidelines (see below) and challenging ourselves to bust the myths of good/bad and acceptable/unacceptable bodies. This is a private, free event.

What do I wear?
Just about anything you like! As long as it is clean, isn’t “cut-offs” (the strings clog the filters), and covers your bottom bits. Tops are optional for everyone. There’s no restriction on what material can be worn into the pool but, for safety reasons, we ask folks to avoid wearing very loose or heavy things as it makes it harder to swim. Folks at other All Bodies Swims in Canada have worn things like: small speedos, boxers, pants and t-shirt, full length dresses, and mermaid tails. You are encouraged to wear what makes you comfortable! We suggest wearing your swimming gear underneath your clothes for speedy entry to the pool.

The entire Gordon Head Rec pool has been booked for this event to help ensure safety of our community. This is a private, free event. Just tell the front desk you are here for the All Bodies Swim or look for AltPride volunteers tabling near the desk. All change rooms have been set aside for All Bodies Swim attendees to use exclusively and designated gender inclusive. There are also single stall gender inclusive change rooms for people who prefer more privacy.

The fun swim ends at 8:00pm, which is why we opted for an 8:45pm start time as the pool likes to give patrons half an hour to change and leave. We apologize for the late start time.

Lockers require quarters, but we will have quarters for people who need them!

Pool includes: 

  • Main Pool (25 metres, with rope swing, climbing wall, slide, stairs)
  • Leisure Pool (1 metre deepest point, with bubblers, sprayers, waterfalls, river pool)
  • River Pool, Tot Pool & shallow water area
  • Whirlpool, Sauna and Steamroom for adults
  • 100% wheelchair accessible with shower wheelchairs

More information here:

We are covering the pool’s public viewing windows to help people feel comfortable and control who gets to see them. There are pool toys (noodles, mats, kickboards and rings) to play with. No inflatable pool toys are permitted in the pool.

Don’t wanna swim? You can hang out in the lobby or pool side, sit on the side of the hot tub and visit, or hang out in the steam room or sauna.

The pool is 100% wheelchair accessible. It can be reached easily through the #27, 28, and 39 bus routes, and bus tickets will be available. 

*Please take a look at the Safer Spaces guidelines below. They have been adapted from a few queer organizations to fit the specifics of this event. We will have Safer Spaces people (identified with armbands) on site to talk to if you have questions about the Safer Spaces policy or require assistance with anything safety related. They are there to help mitigate safety concerns with all attendees, and are super friendly! Seek them out if you are curious about something, need a buddy to come with you to the washroom, or need assistance interacting with another guest.

All bodies are good bodies. Help us keep this event safe and comfortable for everyone by following these guidelines:

•  Respect your own physical, mental, and emotional boundaries
•  Be aware of the space you take up and the role you play in creating safe spaces for others. This means absolutely no: Staring, gawking, pointing, discussing the bodies of others with your friends or strangers, asking invasive/personal questions, or engaging in body comparison or competition.
•  Please communicate your needs if you can
•  If you are uncomfortable addressing your needs or concerns directly, you can seek out a Safer Spaces person
•  Remember you are welcome to take space away from the event if you need time alone/away/quiet
•  Respect the physical, mental and emotional boundaries of others – ALWAYS ask for consent before engaging in physical contact
•  Avoid making assumptions about the identity, experiences, and/or histories of other people
•  Do ASK if/what pronouns others use and use them respectfully.
•  Respect the confidentiality of information, narratives, and bodies shared with you
•  Everyone makes mistakes
•  Try to speak with “I” statements and avoid personal attacks when communicating with others about mistakes they made
•  Be aware of the impacts of your own behaviour and take responsibility for what you say and do
•  Be open to being approached and talked with if you make a mistake
•  Remember that we are gathered to share an open and engaging environment that celebrates the dignity and diversity of ALL BODIES.

Bonus: What is consent? Consent is when one person agrees to something another person wants to do with them. This isn’t just limited to sex but all forms of touching and even conversation subject matter! Consent is clear, communicated, enthusiastic, responsibility of the initiator, ongoing, and can be renegotiated or withheld at any time and is non-transferrable. Just because you asked someone for a hug and they consented, it doesn’t mean it is okay for you to pinch their butt 20 mins later, or even go for another hug without asking. The same courtesy should be extended to your non-physical interactions. Be aware that people have varying levels of comfort with topics when it comes to conversations. Be sure to ask before engaging in conversations, especially if you want to talk about sensitive or personal experiences. Remember, you aren’t asking for consent if “No” isn’t an option.

Here are some resources we used in creating a safer spaces policy for this event:

Alt Pride All Bodies Swim