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London gay sauna kicks out trans man for not having a penis

The man was asked to leave Sailors Sauna following a complaint from a customer.

2018-11-01

A London gay sauna kicked out a transgender man because he did not have a penis.

The 26-year-old man, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was asked to leave Sailors Sauna in Limehouse in east London on Monday night (29 October) because he had not had surgery to construct a penis. 

The man, who showed venue staff identification confirming his male gender, told Gay Star News that he decided to attend the male-only sauna after checking online that there were no rules barring trans men from entry.

"I was a little nervous about being trans as I haven’t had bottom surgery but was reassured [by my friend] there would be no issue. So I thought I’d double check on the website," he said.

"There was no information I could find that states trans men are not welcome, or any information on rules", he added.

After initially being allowed entry to the sauna, the man was aksed to leave after about an hour following a complaint from a customer that there was a "woman" in the venue.

"A staff member came over and requested I leave… as I was not allowed because of my genitals", he said.

The man showed the sauna employee his passport confirming his male gender, but was repeatedly told it was a "male space".

The man, who descriced the incident as "humiliating" was given a refund before leaving the venue.

The Equality Act 2010 protects those who have undergone "gender reassignment" from being refused service or access to single-sex space.

According to the Equality Act 2010 Code of Practice, service providers can provide a different service or exclude a trans person, but this will only be lawful "where the exclusion is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

Sailors Sauna has since apologised for the incident, saying it asked the man to leave because it did not understand the licensing laws surrounding trans man using male-only space.

The venue added that it had since received clarifcation from Tower Hamlets Council that trans men in posession of a Gender Recognition Certificate are indeed aloowed to use the sauna.

"On Monday evening, a customer informed a member of staff that a woman was using the venue," a Sailors spokesperson told Gay Star News.

"I can only confirm what was said on the reception. The customer was told we did not know how we would stand in regards to our license. We are only licensed for men to use the venue.

"I understand that the gentleman was male however his physical gender was different, and as a customer had already stated that a female was using the venue, I explained that I would need to clarify with the council.

"The customer was given a full refund and we did apologise."

The added: "We have had confirmation from the council that if someone has a GRC [Gender Recognition Certificate] or ID confirming they are male, we would not be in breach of our licence.

"I would also like to confirm that transgender men are welcome in our sauna".