Elite London gentleman’s club

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

An exclusive London gentlemen’s club 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.

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.

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