When London-based makeup artist Drew Dalziel called her bank in July to ask about a charge on her account, she was shocked to hear that her bank account would subsequently be locked.
Dalziel, a transgender woman, told The Telegraph that Santander bank advisors told her that her account was being blocked because she "sounded like a man." Despite having notified Santander back in March that she was transitioning from male to female (Dalziel is currently undergoing vocal treatments), the advisors insisted that the bank was "following procedures" after misidentifying her as a man.
According to the Telegraph, Santander corrected her gender on their records, but made no other notes on her file — and even told her that the only way to get back into her bank account was to bring a form of photo ID to a local bank center. However, at the time, her passport was in the process of being replaced with one that marked her correct gender.
"While I can see why this happened, it has been stressful," Dalziel told the Telegraph. "I haven't had access to my money and have had to borrow to get by. I personally told the bank that I was transitioning and gave them my new deed poll papers, so they knew of my situation. I hope this doesn't happen to other transgender customers."
The Telegraph contacted Santander, who then unlocked Dalziel's account and apologized for the error, adding that they have added a note to her profile to remind advisers that she is currently transitioning.
"We apologize for the service Miss Dalziel received," a Santander spokesperson told the Telegraph. "We work hard to support all of our customers and realize that this time our service fell short."
The spokesperson also added that last year, the bank had worked with their contact centers to develop a process to better serve transitioning customers, but understands that they have more work to do.
While it's nice that the bank is now promising to do better, it's a shame that it took misidentifying a transgender woman to come to that realization. This incident is only further indication of the discrimination (even if it's unintentional) that transgender people face every day.
Refinery29 has reached out to Dalziel, and will update this article when we receive a response.
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