I have now spent a long time consulting a range of people. Many thanks to all those who sent me their opinions or talked to me about this issue. It is good to know that so many care about the Cellar and that it is a special place for them.
There was a huge variety amoung those that sent me their opinion. Amoung those I talked to personally, however, there was near unanimity. This is significant to me as those include many whose RL sex I know to be female. This is a difficult issue, and I am sure I will not satisfy some whatever I do. I am sorry if the policy here is not to your liking.
My general principles and inclinations are as follows.
The Cellar's female ethos is overridingly important. That is it is a welcoming, caring and helpful place - not a place for quick sex or instant liasons, but one where quality relationships are encouraged and celebrated. It is not only a place for lesbians, but for women of all kinds and orientations. Tolerance of all different kinds of sexuality, and approach/style of BDSM is essential, not to mention any kind of nationality or religion.
There are some vulnerable people who come to the Cellar due to its caring ethos. Some have bad experiences in for example from Gor, abusive D/s relationships, or RL experiences. I would like to be able to afford them some protection, but have come to the conclusion that the only way to do this in SL is via tha norms of quality behaviour in the Cellar and via the mutual support network that is available there. It can not ensure the RL characteristics of those as the Cellar and it should not give the misleading impression that it can.
The Cellar can not achieve its ends by "hard" means such as banning. This does not work in SL -- only persuasion and self-selection works. If someone is banned they can just come back as another av. However if they dont find that avs here are easy to exploit and that callous behaviour is disapproved of they are likely to go elsewhere. Thus the purpose of the policy and guidelines should be to encourage good behaviour as much as possible and discourage and abusive, uncaring or exploitative behaviour.
The Cellar is a feminist place in the senses that: it promotes the rights of women to be respected and free from abuse; it is for the mutual support of women; it promotes a female ethos. It is not, however, vindictive towards or against anyone, merely be a place where women can relax and simply socialise without threat or hassle.
Thus the new policy of the Cellar will be as follows (it is similar to the old one).
The Cellar is a place for females only. No male avs, sexuality or behaviour will be tolerated. We ask that any males who are simply pretending to be female should respect our wish to be female-only and go elsewhere. No penises or other displays of maleness are allowed.It is recognised that there are people (TG/TS/TV) with female brains but RL male bodies. These are allowed by on some conditions: (1) they talk to me, San Mauvaise before spending substantial time at the Cellar (2) they reveal their RL status to others before any sexual intimacy or entering into a longer-term relationship with them (such as collaring) (3) they live as a female at the Cellar in all respects.
People at the Cellar will ultimately be judged on their behaviour. There will be no witch-hunt in the sense of trying to find out about the RL sex of av's and anyway this is contrary to the SL Terms of Service (which all have accepted by using SL). Avs who behave callously or abusively will not be welcome at the Cellar, even if they are RL female. TG avs who show by their behaviour that they act in accordance with the Cellar female ethos will be accepted on terms equal to any other av.
My decision on this is final. I am, as always, always willing to listen to the views of any member if respectfully put. However I will not now change this policy for at least 6 months.