NatWest refuses to change trans woman’s title from ‘Mr’
A trans woman has criticised NatWest after she was told she could not change her title on her bank account without a gender recognition certificate.
The woman was repeatedly told, by staff at both the Birmingham New Street and Dudley branches, that she could not have her title changed from Mr to Ms or Miss without official documentation of a gender change.
They offered to have a female title listed as an alias on her account, but she felt that would out her as trans to staff and draw unwanted attention to herself.
In Britain, titles such as Mr and Ms are a courtesy, and not tied to a person’s legal gender.
A deed poll declaring a change of name and title should be accepted by banks – and other trans people PinkNews spoke to said they had had no issues changing their titles with NatWest using this method.
The author of this article changed his title from Miss to Mr at HSBC with no issue, after providing a deed poll, in 2010.
The woman in question provided a letter from the gender identity clinic (GIC) which confirmed she was in the process of transition, but NatWest did not accept this as proof.
As part of medical transition, many GICs require that patients provide evidence – such a bank statements in their new name and title – that they are living full time in their gender.
NatWest has told the woman they are preparing a final statement of their decision, which will confirm what they have said to her in person – that they are unable to change her title.
The woman told PinkNews: “This has made me feel frustrated and it feels as if my gender transition has been put on hold by a large corporate body which should not be able to impose such a restriction on my life.
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“In all honesty, I feel that titles are rather formal and in some ways, perhaps life would be simpler if we didn’t have to use prefixing gender based title.
“However, in terms of social etiquette, and my choice, I live as female and so wish to be given a female title.”
She also points out that they are in breach of the Equality Act, as they are discriminating against her based on the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
She said: “The bank is not treating me in the same way as they would treat others, for example, a woman requesting to be known as Ms or Miss could do so freely without having to go to such lengths of two visits and making several phone calls only then to find that her request was not carried out.”
PinkNews has approached NatWest for comment