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Subversive Sirens win gold in Gay Games' synchronized swimming competition

The Minnesota-based team is focused on social justice activism both inside and outside of the pool.

The Subversive Sirens, a Minnesota-based synchronized swim team that infuses its aquatic routines with social-justice messages, won a gold medal at this year’s Gay Games in Paris.

“This gold is for all our fans and supporters, our communities in [Minnesota] and beyond facing discrimination and barriers to being truly free,” the group wrote Tuesday in a Facebook post.

Formed in 2014, The Subversive Sirens consists of five women in their 30s and 40s, many of whom are women of color and identify as LGBTQ. The team is just as focused on social justice as it is on underwater choreography.

“We are here for black liberation, we are here for body positivity, we are here for queer visibility and we're here for equity and aquatics,” Signe Harriday, one of the team members, told NBC News.

Tana Hana, another Subversive Siren, said the Gay Games is the perfect platform for the group, because the event’s ethos is that everyone is equal, and no one has to qualify to compete.

“It’s taking everybody at where they are,” she said. “It is all abilities, all bodies, everybody where they are coming together and being visible.”

The Subversive Sirens are focused on social justice activism both inside and outside of the pool, and Harriday say the two go hand-in-hand.

“All of our lives are really, for the most part, working on initiatives that are trying to advance liberation in a variety of different sectors of work,” she explained. “Being able to be that in the pool gives us sustenance, gives us energy and strength so that we can go out and do that work.”

“The Subversive Sirens,” she continued, “allows us to show up more authentically in the work we do outside of the pool.”


Kristi Eaton contributed.