“LIGHT IN THE WATER”— Documentary About a Gay Swim Team

“Light in the Water”

Documentary About a Gay Swim Team

Amos Lassen

Now premiering on Logo TV is Lis Bartlett’s “Light in the Water”, a documentary about a gay swim team. In 1982, soon after the first Gay Games, ‘West Hollywood Swim Club,’ as it was then known registered as the first openly gay masters swim and water polo club. The documentary film their battle for acceptance: from their small beginnings, to how these men and women have become a renowned force fighting injustice in the world of competitive sports.

The film reveals the untold story of a group of gay men and women who found one another through their love of competitive swimming and who ultimately became a family and a force for the LGBTQ sports movement. 

The West Hollywood Aquatics Team – who also go by “WH2O” are pioneers in gay sports. With a current roster of more than 180 individuals, the organization initially grew out of a group of athletes training for the first Gay Games in 1982. This was during a time when being gay and being an athlete was considered an oxymoron and the AIDS crisis only increased homophobia across the United States. WH2O prioritized inclusion and dignity and combated stigma.

One of the original members states, “if you could swim, you could live…or at least you were alive for that moment.” Another member adds “swimming was about celebrating and rising above all the darkness that was around us…and striving to show the word that we are not being wiped out by an illness.”

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