Although Becky’s experiences were mostly positive, she does highlight how the simplest of tasks can become more complicated just because a person is trans. A common cause of frustration and anxiety is being asked to provide additional documentation without any clear, or valid, reason.
To help you provide a positive, and ‘unremarkable’, experience, remember these points:
- Treat all customers with respect
- Not all trans people will have legally changed their gender when you meet them, and some may choose not to do this at all
- Many will not yet have changed their name on any or all of their documents (and may have chosen not to)
- Think about what you really need to know and what documentation you really need to transact the business
- Do you really need to see documents proving their name change?
- Is there any reason why their title (Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs) has to match their legal gender on the documentation you are issuing them? Some trans people, especially those who identify as non-binary, may also prefer the title Mx.
- Is there any reason why you cannot use the name they prefer, rather than the name on their birth certificate?
- If there is a reason why you must use the legal name and gender you may be able to attach a note to the file highlighting the preferred name and title, but always check with them first!
- You should always keep information about a person’s trans status confidential
- Having a thorough knowledge of your organisation’s policy will help you answer these questions
- You may need to work at it to overcome preconceptions based on, for example, voice, and get used to using the correct gender pronoun