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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Sex-change minister's 'victory'
Dian Parry
Dian Parry has won the right to attend the women's group
A transexual church minister has won a fight to join the Welsh-language equivalent of the Women's Institute.

Dian Parry, aged 61, - who used to be bearded clergyman Revd Bill Parry - was accepted as a member by the all-women group who changed their rules after legal advice.

She was asked to leave a meeting of the organisation Merched y Wawr - "Daughters Of The Dawn" - when she first turned up.


It was very embarrassing to be told I was not welcome but it made me even more determined to join

Dian Parry

But she has now won the right to join in the all-women organisation after talks with the Equal Opportunities Commission.

She has paid her #10 annual membership fee and has joined a local branch of Merched y Wawr near her home at Port Talbot, South Wales.

"I was very nervous when I attended my first meeting but the other members made me very welcome," she said.

"I am delighted to have become a member and hope to play a big part in the life of the organisation."

Congregation shocked

Dian Parry was a non-conformist minister at three churches near his home in the village of Croeserw until two years ago.

The minister, who has three grown-up daughters, shocked his congregation when he announced that he intended to live life as a woman.

She is still living with wife, Anita, who has stood by her since the announcement.

The couple have appeared on the Kilroy show on television to talk about their experiences.

Dian Parry said her first attempt to join Merched y Wawr was a failure.


It is a very sensitive issue and while a lot of our members found it difficult to accept her others were quite happy.

Merched y Wawr's Tegwen Griffiths

She said: "It was very embarrassing to be told I was not welcome but it made me even more determined to join.

"I am now a woman and should not have been barred because I used to be a man."

She will join members of the Lon Las branch in the Swansea valley at their monthly meetings and go on outings with them.

Merchyd y Wawr's national organiser Tegwen Griffiths said: "We took soundings among officials representing our 7,500 members.

'Difficult' decision

"The Rev Parry is receiving medical treatment and it was decided to accept her as a woman.

"It is a very sensitive issue and while a lot of our members found it difficult to accept her others were quite happy.

"We took our decision after taking legal advice and speaking to the Equal Opportunities Commission."

Two months ago, Dian Parry was awarded 6,000 after winning a sex discrimination battle against college bosses.

She claimed she was victimised by Swansea College officials after enrolling on a beauty therapy course at college. But she was expelled from the course after complaining she was not supplied with suitable models to practice on.

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