I was in the group for roughly a year. It was the only 12 Step type recovery group exclusively for women in the area. I found this group through a word of mouth direct invite from a woman I met in a recovery group specifically for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. One day a 6ft 4in man with a robust build in his 50s came into our space. He wore women’s clothes and attempted to grow out his thinning hair and dye it a bizarre color of orange. He also attempted to speak in a women’s voice - it was a bizarre falsetto tone with a lisp. At first I thought maybe I was just being overly sensitive... until he started talking about his life story. He was a farmer by trade, and he was a "former" domestic abuser. He would brag about being an angry violent person saying that he was always that way. He said that his wife divorced him once he decided to be a woman and that his children wanted nothing to do with him. He wanted advice on how he could attend his daughter's wedding and walk her down the aisle as her mother instead of her father. He was not on hormones and had no plans to transition. He talked down to actual women about our actual experiences being a woman actively defending abuse to those of us who had abusive men in our lives. He would get a wistful look in his eye and a boastful tone of voice when he was bringing up his abusive past. He would smirk at us when we would uncomfortably shift in our seats at his stories. If we stepped out while he was talking he would corner us at the end of the group meeting time to figure out what he did to make us uncomfortable. The group meeting always closed with a hug and he would usually position himself in a way where he was between the youngest most attractive women and wrap his big meaty calloused hands around our waists, when he would unwrap his arms he would casually graze our buttocks or touch our breasts. It was always an "accident" every week for months. I was too afraid to confront him about his behavior and decided to talk to several of the core older women in the group. I was told that the group was meant to be supportive and if he identified as a woman he was a woman. The only place I had felt safe enough to open up that originally had a positive impact on my life was no longer safe to be around anymore. So I left.
No Conflict, They SAid
In Australia and around the world, legislation is being introduced that replaces sex with gender identity. Advocates insist that there is no conflict of interests. But governments are not collecting data on the impacts of this legislative change. We're worried about the impacts on women of men using women-only spaces, including but not limited to: changing rooms, fitting rooms, bathrooms, shelters, rape and domestic violence refuges, gyms, spas, sports, schools, accommodations, hospital wards, shortlists, prizes, quotas, political groups, prisons, clubs, events, festivals, dating apps, and language. If we can't collect data, we can at least collect stories. Please tell us how your use of women-only spaces has been impacted. All stories will be published anonymously. If you know of other women who have been impacted, please encourage them to tell their stories too.
This site is run from Melbourne, Australia by members of the LGB Alliance Australia.