The University of Guelph (U of G) in Southwestern Ontario is offering “LGBTQ2IA+ Only” swimming times on Wednesdays at its athletics centre.

UofG’s website says the dedicated swim time “exists to create space for shared lived experience” and “to provide a safer, braver space for folks to show up, move their bodies & build community.”

The university says “any queer, trans and/or gender diverse person who wants to attend is welcome” and that attendees can use their preferred change room.

The “LGBTQ2IA+ Only Swim” takes place Wednesday afternoons in the red pool – one of two swimming pools at the Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre.

This coming Wednesday’s “LGBTQ2IA+ Only Swim” is also listed by the UofG Student Experience office as an “LGBTQ2IA+ Solidarity Swim” that is part of their 2023 “Snow Days” programming for first year students. 

“We want to provide space (that) specifically decenters cisheteronormativity” reads the event page for Wednesday’s swim. It adds that “students are welcome and encouraged to wear the attire and swimwear they desire and have a space to try something new if that best suits them.”

While UofG says the dedicated times are “open to LGBTQ2IA+ people only”, it also notes that “allies” are welcome. They however ask that “allies” come only if invited by an LGBT student. 

Attendees are not asked to self-identity when accessing the pool and LGBT students can also attend regular open swim times.

UofG also holds dedicated swimming times for women – a common practice in university, public and private swimming pools that in-part helps accommodate Muslim women.

The University of Windsor also offers a weekly “LGBTQ+ Inclusive Swim” and bi-weekly “2SLGBTQIA+ only” workout times, while Ottawa’s Carleton University offers a “Trans and Allies Fitness Space” three times per week. 

UofG did not return True North’s request for comment in time for publication.

The university says the long “LGBTQ2IA+” acronym “represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, two-spirit, intersex, asexual, and others whose identities fall outside of heterosexual and cisgender paradigms.”