"God made you a man."

That's what Charlene Hastings said she was told when she called to inquire about breast enlargement surgery at Seton Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in Daly City.

Now the San Franciscan is suing the hospital, claiming officials there discriminated against her because she had a sex-change operation.

Hastings, 57, had already had the major surgery she needed to become a woman. She had chosen a San Francisco plastic surgeon with privileges at Seton to perform the breast augmentation in October 2006. But the surgeon, Dr. Leonard Gray, told her that Seton no longer allowed him to operate on transgender patients, Hastings said.

When Hastings called Seton to learn more, a surgical coordinator said the hospital would not allow its facilities to be used for transgender surgery, according to the lawsuit, "She was saying, 'It's not God's will,' " Hastings said. "I couldn't believe it. It's a blatant case of discrimination."

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 21 in San Francisco Superior Court, pits the rights of transgendered people against the hospital's rights to operate according to its religious principles.

State law allows religiously affiliated hospitals to refuse to provide abortions, but there is no specific religious exemption allowing hospitals to deny elective surgery to transgender people. . . .