Lesbian group’s transgender ban challenged

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An Australian transgender psychotherapist has taken a lesbian support group to an equal opportunities tribunal on the grounds of discrimination.

Tracie O’Keefe in Sydney, claims that she was refused an invitation to an event organised by the gay organisation Sappho’s Party because of their strict policy excluding transgender people.

The group only allows those who were female at birth to join.

“I sent an email to them saying that I would like to go and they sent me an email back saying it would not be appropriate for me to attend,” Ms O’Keefe said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Sappho’s Party told the tribunal that Ms O’Keefe’s attendance at the event would impinge on the organisation’s “intimacy, level of trust and discussion”.

Ms O’Keefe, who has lived as a woman for 35 years and has undergone gender reassignment surgery, is demanding an apology.

“It was offensive,” she said.

“I’ve lived in a lesbian relationship for 14 years with the same woman. I don’t get discriminated against in any other part of the gay community.”

The case has been adjourned until December 19th.

A statement about Sappho’s Party online says that: “The Association was formed was because any meetings of lesbians born female, and raised as girls, in the past few years have been harassed and intimidated by actions and public threats of legal action.

“This harrassment has come from a only a few members of the transgender and GLBTI community in Australia, and by their own claims, this minority of the TG (transgender) community is supported financially and otherwise by international TG organisations.”