The City of London Corporation will ask the public whether it should adopt a gender identity and inclusion policy, following a debate over its decision to allow self-identifying women to swim at a ladies-only pond.
The decision comes just days after the Pride in London parade, and in the aftermath of a row over access to the Kenwood Ladies' Pond at Hampstead Heath.
The City manages Kenwood Ladies' Pond in the popular London beauty-spot, which had to close its gates for periods in the hot weather this weekend as demand was so great it became full to capacity.
The City had courted controversy late last year when it decided to allow self-identifying women to use the swimming spot and its changing sheds, leading a group of women activists to attempt to swim at the men's pond in protest.
The City's stance was supported by the Kenwood Ladies' Pond Association, which issued a statement saying that transgender women had swum there and were welcome.
But the Corporation noted the episode revealed it did not actually have an overarching gender and inclusion policy, at its establishment committee on Monday (July 9).
Committee members agreed unanimously to invite staff to draft an over-arching policy on gender identity, which will go out to public consultation later this year.
Chairman Edward Lord, who wore a rainbow-hued lanyard to the meeting, said the request to explore support for such a policy came from the chairman of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee, following the debate over the ladies' pond earlier this year.
He told committee members that the modern definition of a transgender person included those who self-identify their gender.
“This is increasingly the modern way of approaching this,” he said.
“Some people - actually a very small number of people - protest this. But the chairman of the Hampstead Heath committee has approached us, quite rightly ... to decide on whether we should have a central policy on gender and inclusion.”
The report to the committee on the draft policy noted that there had been a considerable degree of public interest in the City's stance on gender identity, following the ladies' pond debate.
The Corporation added at the time that the lifeguards who watch over the ladies pond had received transgender-awareness training courses.
Access to the pond is restricted to female swimmers over eight years old.
The heath also offers a men's swimming pond and a mixed pond.
A group of female activists this June said they feared that men would pretend they identified as women in order to access the pond, which is widely treasured as a safe space for women.
The Man Friday activists' blog said they checked with the City of London authority about the situation at the men’s pond "and were told we, as self-identifying men, would be welcome".
The activists then swam in the pond, with one being pictured wearing a mankini, and after a few minutes' swimming were escorted out by police, who they said did not remove them from the area as there was not a law against their presence at the pond.
The City's proposed policy notes that the Equality Act 2010 includes "gender reassignment" as a protected characteristic, and provides explicit protection for trans people against discrimination.
The draft policy will consider addressing employees' use of City facilities, of pronouns, and reasons for time off.
The document notes the use of bathroom and changing facilities are a common issue for transgender people.
The City's decision comes just days after a clash during the Pride parade where anti-trans activists protested their inclusion in this Saturday's LGBT+ event in London.
The incident led to the parade's organisers condemning the protest, and apologising for allowing the activists to make it to the front of the parade and leading it with their protest for a period.
Cllr Lord thanked the committee and staff for their support of this year's parade.
For the first time, staff and elected members from the Corporation, the body that governs the Square Mile, London's financial and trading district, joined the Pride parade, along with City of London Police.
The Corporation also flew the rainbow pride flag over key City landmarks, including Tower Bridge, and the 15th-century Guildhall, the seat of its Common Council.