Fredericton — Lifelong Nashwaaksis resident Greg Hoskins is seeking a public apology and a municipal policy change after being labelled as “too hairy” to swim topless in the city’s outdoor public pools.
Hoskins took his 2 sons to swim at family swim time at the Royal Road pool last week when he was confronted by a sleek, bare-chested male lifeguard who told him he was in violation of a city ordinance requiring males over the age of 15 with “excessive” body hair to wear shirts while using public pools.
“I was completely humiliated,” said Hoskins. “There I was with my little boys, being dressed down by some teenage swim-team star. Being made to feel ashamed of the body I have. I either had to comply, showing my sons it was right for the thin, muscular kid to shame me because I look different than he does, or leave and be shunned and segregated from the hairless. Not much of a choice, if you ask me.
“Besides, all I had with me was my good Sons of Anarchy T-shirt. I didn’t want it to get all ruined by the pool chemicals.”
Fredericton Recreation and Leisure manager Jill Forbes said the policy was put in place due to loose body hair issues in municipal pool filtration systems. She added that the policy is meant to balance the safety and comfort of everyone using public pools.
“Not everyone feels comfortable with excessive amounts of body hair on display,” said Forbes. “You should have seen the wads of hair our plumbing technicians used to pull out of the pool filters on a weekly basis. It was shocking.”
The city does not believe the rule violates any legal or human rights, nor was it meant to discriminate against people like Hoskins. “We apologize to Mr. Hoskins if he felt embarrassed,” said Forbes. “That is not the intent of the policy.”
To that, Hoskins stated the obvious: he has no control over the quantity, texture or attachment of the follicles that call his torso home. “Body covering is in my DNA. I come from a long, matrilineal line of proud hirsute individuals,” said Hoskins. “My mother was hairy, as was her father and her father’s father. How else can you describe this policy, other than discriminatory?
“I’m not just speaking out for myself, but for all my hairy brothers and sisters out there. My children, god willing, will be hairy and I want them to be able to enjoy the same right to go topless at an outdoor public pool as all the hairless and waxed individuals do.”