Thursday, 24 December 2015

Seven Sisters Festival Reverses Decision, Welcomes Trans Women

As reported in a previous article of mine, Australian women's Seven Sisters Festival last week released a statement that said that only transgender women who had been 'undertaken all operative measures to become women' would be allowed to attend, despite all women being welcome in previous years.

This exclusion of any trans women deemed not to have been through enough surgical procedures was met with criticism from the transgender community and its allies.  The Seven Sisters Festival blocked all conversation of the decision from their Facebook page and said that they would consult with those that had already booked their ticket to the event to get a sense of how their attendees felt about the new policy before making a final decision.

Earlier this week the festival have announced that following these discussions they have chosen to allow all women to attend, including transgender women and intersex women.  The decision to reverse the exclusionary policy has been well received.

In an interview with ABC, Kaylee, who has chosen not to give her surname, revealed how she was told by the organisers that her partner Belle, who is in the early stages of transitioning, would not be welcome to attend the festival.

'We've been trying to become more involved in women's circles so that she can feel more comfortable, but at the moment she's retreated a bit from life, so I thought a really beautiful camping festival with all women would be a really safe space for her to feel accepted,' Kaylee told ABC.

'Their basic response was 'we only welcome trans women who are post-op, who have undergone all the procedures to become female because having people onsite who are physically male  would break the trust of attendees'.'

'I got quite ragey over it, and I read it out to my partner and she just kind of sighed and went 'yep, that sounds about right'.'

Kaylee's partner Belle said that whilst she was not surprised by the response, it was disappointing to her.

'The email was talking about surgery, so only rich well to do trans women who can afford full gender re-assignment surgery which is upwards of $20,000.'  She said when describing the festivals stance on only allowing post-op trans women.

Luckily for Kaylee, Belle and countless other women the festival has reversed it's decision and has returned to the principals of inclusion and celebration of diversity that it has prided itself on in the past.


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