The executive director of the YWCA said that trans women are not allowed to stay at the women's shelter but they are directed to another safe space. Apparently, they do not do a very good job of it though, because the woman in question ended up spending the night at a downtown park.
Before turning her away, they subjected her to a series of questions about her genitals... whether she was pre or post-op, whether she urinated sitting down or standing up... questions that would never be tolerated if they were asked of a cis-woman.
I am not a trans person, and therefore am not really able to understand what she was going through, but I also cannot understand the position of turning away someone who needs these services just because the presence of a penis tells society that her own personal experiences of gender are not real (or something to that effect). I don't get it. And I don't think I want to understand that line of thinking, either.
It seems to me that people who don't conform to the gender binary should be allowed to decide whether a man's shelter or a women's shelter is a safer space for them (especially in the absence of non-gender specific spaces) and I am guessing for a trans woman, the safest place is probably a shelter for women.. please correct me if I'm wrong. And as someone who has spent time in a shelter for battered women, I don't think I would have felt in the least bit threatened by her presence.
Yet another example of how transphobia is still considered to be acceptable...