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Women now free to go topless in all of Barcelona’s municipal pools

City Hall has ordered sports centers to get rid of any regulation that stops female swimmers from dressing as they wish

Picornell swimming center in Barcelona.
Picornell swimming center in Barcelona.

Barcelona City Hall has ordered the withdrawal of any regulation banning the practice of topless bathing at municipal pools.

Imposing rules of dress specifically for women means restricting their freedom of choice

Office Against Discrimination

Until now, each public sports center in the city had a different approach to topless bathing. Some allowed it in the indoor pool while others have confined the practice to certain areas, such as the solarium or to the outdoor pool, restrictions that have been denounced by the women’s organization Mugrons Lliures as gender discrimination.

In response, the Office Against Discrimination has drawn up a report that says, “Imposing rules of dress specifically for women means restricting their freedom of choice and is gender discrimination.”

Based on the report, the Barcelona Sports Institute has contacted the 14 public centers with pools in Barcelona, asking them not to ban topless bathing.

In the Picornell swimming center, topless bathing is nothing new. The director of the center, Jaume Serna, explains that it is normal there for a number of women to sunbathe topless at the outdoor pool. He adds that they received the City Hall’s missive at the end of July. “It is a message of reinforcement,“ says Serna who adds that he totally respects the “freedom of each and every person” when it comes to choosing swimwear. Although there are not many takers, bathers are also allowed to go topless at the Picornell indoor pool. In fact, Picornell is the only center in Barcelona with a time slot for nudists.

Following the City Hall’s intervention on the matter, the Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta has confirmed on social media that bathers “can now enjoy all the pools in an atmosphere of complete equality” as there is no longer a regulation with regard to going topless. Meanwhile, staff at the Can Caralleu pool in Sarrià, say they are not aware of the change in policy and explain that up to now women have been allowed to go topless in the solarium but not in the indoor pools which are used for sport.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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