Transgender Woman Says Bank Refuses Phone Transactions: 'I Sound Like a Man'
Ellen Westerleigh, 22 outraged when bank misgenders her
A transgender woman from the UK has claimed her bank has been refusing transactions because she sounds like a man.
Ellen Westerleigh, 22, was outraged when she was sent a new bank car with ‘Mr,’ instead of ‘Miss,’ despite telling the bank HSBC she is now identifying as a woman.
Westerleigh said she was unable to withdraw any money because the operator thought she was a different person, even though she passed the rigorous security check beforehand.
Westerleigh was told she would have to travel to her nearest branch, in central Nottingham, UK, to make transactions.
Westerleigh told the Nottingham Post:
"I opened the account in October last year," she said.
"I had to order a new card, and they sent a card that said Mr. rather than Miss. They said it was an error. Every time I ring up to speak about my account, they say I 'don't sound like a woman."
"I know I sound like a man, but that's not the point," she said.
"I do feel uncomfortable ringing up my bank. It has happened three or four times, and it is ridiculous."
"It has got to a point where I have to go into my branch and show my ID, and I do not live near my branch. The nearest is the City Centre."
Ellen lives in Strelley on the outskirts of Nottingham, which is five miles to the nearest bank.
The incident occurred when HSBC refused to transfer money from Westerleigh's account because they did not believe the person on the phone was Westerleigh.
"I have told them several times, 'I am transgender.' It is in my file. I should not have to keep saying it," Westerleigh added to the paper.
"They do not take the trans community seriously. They just think we are not that gender."
Westerleigh, previously know as Kurtis, became Ellen last September after being uncomfortable as a male.
"I grew up with two sisters, and it was obvious," Westerleigh said.
"I always wanted to put on dresses or play with their toys. In September, I thought it was time to be true to myself."
HSBC responded in a statement saying it is reviewing g Westerleigh's complaint and has recently made changes to its systems.
"We are very sorry for the disappointing level of service experienced by Miss Westerleigh, and are committed to learning from this to help ensure it doesn't happen again," an HSBC spokesman told the Post.
"We are a proud and active supporter of customers and colleagues across the broad spectrum of diversity of sexuality and gender identity.
"We want everyone to be able to access simple and smart banking solutions that work for them, and we will continue working with our LGBT+ colleagues and customers to ensure we're getting it right."