LONDON – The exclusive Savile Club London has defied its 150-year-old tradition as a male-only bastion by allowing a woman to join – but only because she was born a man.
The Savile Club in swanky Mayfair in central London has never accepted women since it opened in 1868, but bent its rules after one of its existing members transitioned into a female.
Rather than being hailed as a step towards gender equality, the decision was derided by some Twitter users who argued the club still discriminated against women who were not born male.
“Another #FirstWoman is, yet again, a man,” posted Twitter user @WomenCanSee.
“Right. So you’ll let women in, as long as they’re men. Waow – enlightened,” wrote another Twitter user Charlotte Perkins.
The club, which has seen the likes of novelists Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling walk through its doors, declined to comment on their decision.
The move comes as a women-only college in Britain’s prestigious Cambridge University changed its admissions policy to accept transgender female students.
The British government in July announced a reform of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) laws.
It proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to allow gender reassignment surgery without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a mental health condition where someone’s gender identity does not match their physical body.
The Lancet medical journal estimated in 2016 that there are about 25 million transgender people globally.