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Trans man kicked out of London gay sauna for not having a penis

Trans man kicked out of London gay sauna for not having a penis

Man on the side of a pool

A London gay sauna kicked out a trans man for not having a penis.

26-year-old Jason Smith (not his real name) identifies as bisexual and says he’s a ‘very passable trans man’.

He decided to go to the Sailors Sauna in Limehouse in London’s East on Monday night (29 October) with a friend.

The transgender man was a little unsure about going to the sex-on-premises venue so he checked their website beforehand for any trans-specific policies.

Sailors Sauna website
Sailors Sauna website. | Photo: Screenshot

‘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,’ Jason told Gay Star News. ‘So I thought I’d double check on the website.

‘There was no information I could find that states trans men are not welcome,’ he said. ‘Or any information on rules.’

The pair got into the sauna at around 9.30pm and were there for about an hour, according to Jason.

It’d be fine if you had ‘tits and a dick’

But when they were in the jacuzzi, a member of staff came up to Jason and said he needed to leave.

Jason said: ‘A staff member came over and requested I leave… as I was not allowed because of my genitals.’

When Jason protested, he says the member of staff simply repeated it was a ‘male space’.

The trans man then showed the sauna employee his passport with his male gender marker.

He claims the member of staff repeated it was a male space. The staff member allegedly said if he had ‘tits and a dick,’ it’d be fine – but since he has a vagina, it’s not.

Shirtless man in pool
Photo: Troy Marusek / Flickr

Jason then mentioned the lack of information about this on their website. He also mentioned the fact it goes against the rights of transgender people in the UK.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for transgender people.

A trans person is someone who proposes to, starts or has completed a process to change their gender. The Act no longer requires a person to be under medical supervision.

As such, providers of goods, facilities and services cannot discriminate on the grounds of gender identity.

When Jason brought up the human rights violation, he says the member of staff said it’s not up to them and the council makes the rules.

After the member of staff forced Jason to leave, they gave the trans man a refund of his entrance fee.

Jason said: ‘It was humiliating.’

Sailors Sauna responds

Gay Star News contacted the Sailors Sauna for comment. A spokesperson for the sauna confirmed the incident took place.

He said the sauna wasn’t sure if their licensing from the local Tower Hamlets council covered transgender men who have not undergone physical transition.

On the night of the incident, they offered a full refund to the trans man. They also said they would go to the council the next day to clarify the license.

But after consultation with Tower Hamlets council, they discovered allowing trans men into the sauna was not in breach of licensing laws.

List of entry prices for Sailors Sauna
List of entry prices for Sailors Sauna. | Photo: Sailors Sauna website

In a statement, the spokesperson said: ‘On Monday evening, a customer informed a member of staff that a woman was using the venue.

‘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.

‘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,’ the spokesperson said.

Gay Star News also reached out to Tower Hamlets Council for comment.

See also:

How to find love and sex as a gay or bisexual man after 50

Why we need to stop slut-shaming gay men who want condomless sex

Austin Armacost is now the face of a gay sauna in London