Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
Some readers have probably already seen the ‘news’ story in today’s Times Finance and Banking section and typically picked up by the Daily Mail about Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Along with other LGBT ‘inclusionary’ measures, the statement from the bank’s global head of inclusion Marjorie Strachan indicates that RBS is “considering” adding the title ‘Mx’ to its list of standard list of salutations, indicating that RBS was looking at “unconscious bias” and introducing more neutral language, with the caveat that the bank would normally follow the census for guidance.
I bank with RBS and had no trouble persuading the bank to remove an inappropriate gendered title several years ago. My non gender-specific title, ‘Pr’, is not on the system but all correspondence that is personally addressed to me does use my correct title and this has been the case for several years. My bank statements, cards and other mass produced items do not use a title at my request and this has also been the case for years.
That the bank is “considering” adding a gender neutral title to its system base is a positive sign (although, unfortunately for me, not the title I have used for years and have no intention of changing) but the neutral title is of little value when the bank forces customers who do not define as male or female to declare as gendered in order to open an account, despite there is no legal obligation to do so and, in the case of RBS, further requires a declaration of gender in order to register for its online banking services including where trading as NatWest.
As those who regularly dip into this site should be aware, I have challenged RBS about this discriminatory and exclusionary policy a number of times over the years and finally received a positive response in February 2014 when the bank agreed to implement a policy change on requirement of gender in order to set up online banking services at the point of next system upgrade. I was informed the change would take place within the next 12 months but later informed the date had slipped however there is still an intention to implement the change within 2015. It is not fully clear at this stage whether this policy change will just apply to online facilities or whether it will extend to amending an unnecessary requirement to declare as male or female at the point of opening a new account – although, again there is no legal obligation to register a gender when opening a new account and it is hoped the new inclusive policy will be applied across the spectrum of RBS services. I have not reported every communication with RBS as I am fully occupied with working to secure ‘X’ passports and other extremely pressing campaign issues but rest assured I am still on their case.
For anyone interested, here is more information about my approach to RBS: http://elancane.livejournal.com/20049.html and http://elancane.livejournal.com/12155.html
For background on my battle with Office for National Statistics for inclusion in latest census, see here: http://elancane.livejournal.com/5916.html
The Barbican Centre in London responded positively and very promptly to my request that public announcements over the tannoy consider using neutral terminology in place of the ubiquitous “Ladies and Gentlemen”. I was informed the management has agreed to adopt non gender-specific announcements in its foyers and auditoria. Well done Barbican!
Call for Action
This success does demonstrate that where there is a will, there is a way and applies in all cases. It is not acceptable that organisations can get away with ignoring this issue and never has been the case. Now we are empowered to do something about it. Educate your local public and Arts centres and in so doing, allow them to educate their users. Challenge the use of “Ladies and Gentlemen” at your local facility and copy me on your correspondence and responses you receive Christie.Elan-Cane@ukgateway.net
EDM No. 47 is going from strength to strength and with number of signatories rising is on course to reach 100+ before end of this parliamentary year. As before, for anyone who has not done so, contact your MP and urge their support for the motion http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47
If your MP is not on the signatory list, then they should be engaged with this issue, even if not permitted through protocol to sign an EDM (and I’ve received plenty of correspondence from MPs of both Houses who indicate they would sign if permitted). For those MPs who are at liberty to sign, there is no excuse except for plain old fashioned bigotry. See the Parliament website for contact details of your MP where the individual Member pages display a history of EDM signing within the parliamentary year and whether the Member holds a ministerial position that would prevent them from signing (although can still be contacted in order to encourage support for the ‘X’ passports and for people who do not define as gendered.
Contact the Home Secretary
I refer to my earlier call to contact Home Secretary Theresa May and request that she honour her earlier pledge to the trans* community by reopening the door on ‘X’ passports. Following the abolition of HM Passport Office’s ‘executive agency’ status that allowed the lines of accountability over policy decisions to become blurred the responsibility now ultimately lies within Home Office central http://elancane.livejournal.com/24816.html
Here is copy of my letter to Theresa May, not a template but can be used as guidance http://elancane.livejournal.com/24946.html
See PinkNews item for indication of future plans for the campaign
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered