A women's only festival in Australia has caused controversy after refusing to allow a transgender woman to attend. The Seven Sisters Festival, set to take place in Mt Martha, Victoria in March 2016, said that "having individuals onsite who are physically men would be breaking the trust of many women."
The majority of the comments and ire were on the festival's Facebook page. Though they have now chosen to delete each of the negative posts, screenshots are still available. In one, Caitlin Therese Sullivan asks whether the festival will be trans-inclusive, saying that the answer would affect her attendance and that there are "other people who feel the same".
The festival replied saying: "As we have advertised the festival as a sacred women's only space –having individuals onsite who are physically men would be breaking the trust of many women. We are however open to transgender women who have undertaken all operative measures to become a woman to come and partake in the festival."
The same reply was sent by email to Kylee, whose partner is in the early stages of transitioning. She told Australia's ABC network, "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 place for her to feel accepted." She said that her and her partner found the response disappointing.
"Having spent a lifetime feeling like a woman to finally be brave enough to start to make the changes to do something about that, to then have the very people who you are aspiring to be part of their community lock you out, it's not a very nice feeling."
The festival posted a statement on their Facebook saying that a "provocative transgender campaign was elicited" on the page, before going on to say that they will be sending a survey to members asking for their opinion on the matter.
The post mentions that the festival is now deleting all posts on their Facebook page that relates to the issue: "We are deleting all content relating to this issue from our festival pages as it is not the appropriate forum and we wish to prevent further perpetuation of bullying and violent language."