Glad sweet morn – or false dawn?

Today has been both positive and interesting on the activist hat-wearing front.

Call-backs from two organisations, both sounding as though they want geninely to sort out some stuff, both now committing to taking some action that may help.

First off is a large financial organisation that i have been talking to off and on over the last month or so about name change. I originally took up the case of a trans woman treated abysmally in branch: and now, their diversity manager wishes to talk.

Face to face.

Which is good, because i am more than prepared to invest a little time working with them and, hopefully, moving policy in a dirction that is mutually respectful and still gives them the IT security guarantees they need.

More on that in the New Year.

John Lewis sorts it out

Next up is a call from the diversity person over at John Lewis corporate. Very similar request. I could take the issue up through customer services (and presumably get an apology and £25 in gift vouchers).

Or i can come in sometime in the new year, meet with the different brands within the group, including, possibly, Wairose and John Lewis itself: and we can have a sensibleconversation about what a decent trans-positive policy would look like (and also, maybe, get to the bottom of whether saturday was one-off, or something more institutional).

First meet (the finance one), i am probably going by myself: second (John Lewis), i am taking along someone from GIRES, who were more than happy to come.

I don’t exactly represent anyone (though i suspect my views on most matters are not seriously out of line with views held by may others in the trans community). Still, i’d be very interested in hearing from readers on issues such as name change and use of changing rooms. What would people like/expect to see in a store’s trans equality policies?

Change of heart?
So is this all just co-incidence? I’d like to think so, vbut from comments elsewhere, too, i think it is more than that. In 2010, we had the ERquality At that set out some good (if incomplete) principles around trans protection.

Since, we’ve had some much more positive media coverage – with even more to come in the NewYear. And last week, we had the Home Office plan for trans equality cross a range of areas.

Businesses, whatever else they are, are not stupid: they can see which way the wind is blowing. Most, i think, are now aware that T is well within the LGBT umbrella and that T rights are increasingly embedded in UK law. So they don’t want a fight. They just want to get on with selling widgets, or whatever else they do, without aving to worry about being prosecuted for the stupid actions of some staff members.

That, i think, is what we are seeing now bubbling to the surface.



9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Paula TransPanther said,

    John Lewis.. I think the best thing to do would be the face to face meetings to work out their group policy. What as a community do we want?.. To be treated in the same way as everybody else, not much to ask really. I’m still a little in two minds about the “why” you had your experience, was it to protect “women and children from the dangerous perceived man” or was it to protect you from the (sometimes horrible and violent) reactions of a potential bigot you may encounter..
    It was unacceptable, but they may have a “protection” policy which they haven’t bothered to make clear.. The nice thing to do in that case would be to ask if you would like a chaperone and explain their thinking. I have had (when I was still not passing well) many experiences when a chaperone or somebody around in support would have been welcomed. I think any large business these days is aware of the law and how it “should” be applied, as always the devil is in the detail.

    I’m interested to see what the actual outcome of the discussion is.. Taking somebody from GIRES is a very good idea.

    Just been turned down AGAIN today for a voluntary position with that old lame excuse “the customers might not like it”.. dammit.. last post I was front of house and many times was asked where I got my hair done.. passing?.. just a bit.. It’s very rarely I get “read” unless it happens to be somewhere I’m known from a few years back….

    One more thing (and off topic rather).. I’m really quite sick of the unfounded naysayers.. “many trans don’t apply for a GRC”.. really?.. that’s up to them but pitching it at me in a confrontational manner as if “the vast majority don’t” is unfounded and without reasoning. You did make a point of mentioning you hadn’t got round to it yet so my suggestion about priorities was in that frame of mind.. If you want one then make it a priority, it takes at least 12 weeks just for their waiting times..not counting the reports and all the rest of it. I’m pre-op but I got one, so another “urban myth” destroyed. What I don’t get about the community is this. When somebody speaks from direct and real personal experience why do people come along and nay say the facts of the matter?. They are facts and I wouldn’t mention them if that was not the case. When I write an “opinion” I make it clear that is what it is, when I write a “fact” then it’s a fact. I don’t like my experience being erased in such ways when I’m sharing real experienced facts about the system and how it works. It might sound funny to admit this, but I really can’t wait for this “trans” nightmare to be over so I can just get on with my life the same as every other woman.

    sorry that’s so long, good luck with the missions.

    *hugs* – Paula – TPP UK President

    • 2

      janefae said,

      thanks for that. Was it me having a go at grc’s? It doesn’t feel like…but i may have phrased something badly.

      At base, i’d say the following: that personally i’d really rather not have to go thru a government-approved process to get my gender sorted out but…post-op, i now feel far less fussed by that and so, in the next few weeks, i’ll start the process.

      My own take…though maybe i have been tyalking to a different crowd from you, is that some proportion of trans men and women don’t. Some because they can’t be bothered or aren’t organised enough and a few because they object on ideological grounds.

      But i have no real idea what the percentages are.

      However, at base, i DO get pissed off at the cis insistence on this document. The grc is NOT meant to be used as public proof of anything and we should resist that NOW, before it starts to become a standard organisational requirement. Because once that happens, the next step will be for organisations to shift from “allowing identified men or women to use male or female facilities” to demanding a grc before they’ll allow.


      • 3

        Gávi said,


        “The grc is NOT meant to be used as public proof of anything and we should resist that NOW, before it starts to become a standard organisational requirement. Because once that happens, the next step will be for organisations to shift from “allowing identified men or women to use male or female facilities” to demanding a grc before they’ll allow.”

        I agree with you. This is a serious concern that we need to challenge now.


  2. 4

    Megan said,

    That’s really good news, I am sceptical as to wether they are genuinely worried and want to help or wether it’s a case of ekk we’ve been found out and better do something because people are asking questions.

    Either way they are starting to make moves so that is really good to hear.

    I can understand how implementing trans policies could be hard and probably harder for them as there are numerous folk’s under the umbrella and they don’t even know the difference.

    If I was ever asked to use a separate changing room from all the other women; apart from flapping and getting upset and showing them every form of ID I had; I would then simple walk out and never ever shop there again; there is no excuse for ‘what about the other customers?’ as you have already mentioned in previous post; we do have cubicles and I think the male changing rooms also have cubiles as well, so who is going to see.

    I don’t agree totally but if the person had no ID, such as drivers license or passport for their gender and name they are presenting and the shop assistant is really not sure of their gender that they are presenting then maybe they could be justified in doing that ‘but’ only after confronting the person quietly and only after they cannot product any ID or they produce ID in their biological gender.

  3. 5

    Megan said,

    Where do you stand when companies use that old line of ‘the customers might not like it’, we all know it’s usually used for an excuse.

    There must be some legal situation where this is plain discrimination, at least indirect discrimination at the very least.

  4. 6

    Angela Erde said,

    Good up the good work, Jane.

    Ah, but if only the LGBT umbrella was the LGBTI umbrella. Not very pleasant being a non-existent or second-class citizen without rights or recognition or inclusion in anti-discrimination legislation.

    • 7

      janefae said,

      far as i am concerned, the I is very much in mind.

      Whether umbrellas are really helpful of not, i’m not exactly sure.


    • 8

      Gávi said,


      Yes, there has even been concern in the Council of Europe regarding blatant discrimination in the Equalities Act 2010, which excludes intersex people. Several human rights organisations have also compiled evidence from intersex people who were unable to change their official gender designation in the UK. I am working with several organisations to address these concerns and have also contributed sections about this and related issues to a UN report for the Universal Periodic Review of the UK. Hopefully, we can raise awareness and change these discriminatory policies.


  5. 9

    Andi Carla said,

    As far as what we want is concerned, we do not have to start with a blank sheet of paper. My own experience and what I see from comments from others is that M&S regularly get this right; I have not seen their policy but it must make a good starting point. I am sure I have seen comments on boards from trans* people who work on the floor for M&S so their experience would be worth garnering; and how about any John Lewis staff who are trans*; they would have useful comments on whether your experience is down to bad policy, bad training or institutional bias.

    Good luck with following this up; it looks a promising step.


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