Yinz! There are pool parties all summer specifically to celebrate trans folks! Thank you TransPride PGH!!!
-QueerPGH Founder, Samone Riddle
TransPride PGH is a local, grassroots, trans-focused advocacy and support group that actively works to create space, opportunities for education, community support, allocation of resources, mentorship and, most of all, fun and safe, supportive settings. Seven years ago, when we started, we had one yearly event called the TransPride PGH Showcase and, in the time since, we have grown to include:
- Bi-monthly T to T workshops/discussion groups
- Weekly community social groups
- TransFormation Network (a mentor project)
- The Exchange (a way for folks to donate their gently used binder, packer, wigs, and breast forms to others that may not be able to afford them otherwise)
- Weekly community social groups
- A national and regional trans-focused talent showcase
- A yearly professional and community focused conference
Okay, so we have done a lot in seven years… We know that sometimes things can wind down in the summer months, but we wanted to create opportunities for our community to come together all year long in safe and fun ways. SOOOOOooooo, three years ago we began having TransPride PGH pool parties.
Through trial and error over the last three years, we have designated the Polish Hill Pool as our spot for these parties for several reasons. The Polish Hill Pool, also known as the West End Pool, is accessible by bus, open to all, and financially accessible and affordable ($5.00 per 16+ year old and $3.00 per 3-15 year olds). We offer support as we are able to folks that want to attend the pool party but can’t afford the fee. Folks are encouraged to contact us directly through our page if that is the case.
We also realized that some Trans folks were already utilizing this particular pool and that the folks who come there were very diverse, with folks from all walks of life in attendance (cultural, racial, gender, sizes, abilities, sexual orientation, and backgrounds) are at the pool on a regular basis.
The space is handicapped-accessible, child-friendly and there are not separate gendered entrances so anyone of any gender expression can come in and not feel pressured to choose the male or female line to get in. The one downside is that you cannot have food in the pool area, but for folks that might need or want to snack, there is a little picnic table outside of the pool area that can be utilized if folks want to bring snacks.
The pool parties are always attended by one or several members of the TransPride PGH Steering Committee. We try to get there a little early and stake out a towel and hangout spot for folks who come throughout the day. Creating and maintaining this space is important because trans people don’t always feel safe out in the world, especially in places like public pools. We feel having representatives there that can be supportive and helpful can go a long way to alleviating stress about being the “only” trans person in a public space or event.
I personally love these pool parties (and try to be at every one) because as a fat, nonbinary, femme-identifying person, I don’t find others like me in public spaces like pools on the day to day. For most of my adult life, going into spaces like public pools would make me physically ill. I’d constantly worry over what kind of harassment, stupid comment, micro-aggression or just plain aggression I’d have to endure. In reality, I stopped going to pool events several years ago. If I did go, despite having a torrid ongoing love affair with the ocean, I’d pretend I didn’t really want to get in the water and sit and bake in the sun while other folks frolicked, always in something dreadfully hot like long pants and cover ups.
When our steering committee landed on trying out having designated pool parties as a direct result of requests from the community, I was nervous and excited. The nerves were misplaced. It was an immediate success, as we had a great turn out to each and every pool party we scheduled.
There is so much love and support within our trans community. These pool parties are a way to expand and hold that space for all to be able to have fun and frolic in the water and sun, all summer long.