A police investigation has been launched as a trans woman said she was barred from the female toilets of a shopping centre in Edinburgh.
River Song, 18, is awaiting gender reassignment surgery, and says she was told by a security guard: “You are a male and always will be.”
She said she made a complaint to Police Scotland immediately, who confirmed today that they they had started a hate crime enquiry.
Ms Song said the incident happened on Monday at the St James Centre, after she used the female toilets.
The victim was shopping with her fiance Jake Wood, 18, who is a trans man, when she used the female bathrooms, as she has done many times in the past. She said: “A security guard pulled me aside and asked me if I had had a sex change.
“I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing but I answered him saying, ‘no’. He then asked me, ‘Why have you used the female bathrooms if you haven’t had a sex change?’
“He asked for my ID which I showed him and as he glanced at it he said, ‘This is a male, you are a male and always will be a male’.”
LGBT Youth Scotland commented on the incident, saying such occurrences are “disappointingly common”.
A spokeswoman said: “Incidents of this nature are disappointingly common amongst the experiences of transgender people whom we work with. Gender specific public toilets, as well as a whole range of gender specific services, continue to be a major barrier in the day to day lives of transgender people.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police in Edinburgh attended at a shopping centre in the city centre on Monday following reports of offensive comments made by a security guard towards an individual within the complex.
“Enquiries are ongoing in relation to this incident… Police Scotland treat all reports of hate crime seriously and work alongside our partner agencies to provide a range of support, advice and guidance to anyone who believes they have been a victim of such an offence.”
Ms Song said she was reduced to tears by the incident, and that the security guard followed her and her fiance, and continued to make comments. She said: “We get abuse on a daily basis but I have never in my life been treated so badly and felt so humiliated.”