Transsexual accuses Post Office of ‘discrimination’

Fiona Stewart with her Gender Recognition Certificate, LCC bus pass, NHS medical card and Wyre Borough Council council tax banding notice-all of which bear her name.

Fiona Stewart with her Gender Recognition Certificate, LCC bus pass, NHS medical card and Wyre Borough Council council tax banding notice-all of which bear her name.

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A WOMAN who underwent a sex change has accused the Post Office of discrimination after she was unable to open a savings account.

Fiona Stewart, 62, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and changed her name from Stewart Emmett in 2008.

She later underwent surgery to become a woman and is on a course of hormone therapy.

But the retired writer, from Thornton, says she could not open an Instant Saver scheme with the Post Office, despite having an existing current account, because staff would not accept her new proof of identity.

She told The Gazette said: “It’s been upsetting and makes me feel like things are going backwards rather than looking forward.”

Identity

Fiona deposited £590 at a Post Office near her home.

She then received a letter from the Post Office, which said the money had been paid into a holding account, after being unable to confirm her identity or address through its electronic checks.

The letter said Fiona needed to produce two official documents, one of which must be a passport, national identity card, driving licence, DWP or benefits agency letter or a tax coding notice.

The other document could be a utility bill, bank statement or local authority correspondence.

Fiona took her Wyre Council tax coding notice, NHS medical card, Gender Recognition Certificate and Lancashire County Council bus pass to the Post Office in Market Street, Lancaster.

But she was told she needed a passport or driving licence.

She said: “I’m living a new life. I haven’t got a driving licence and my passport has my old name and picture. The law on sex change is we’re supposed to be accepted. I said to the staff ‘you’re discriminating against me’.”

The Post Office apologised and a spokesman said: “The Post Office must comply with anti-money laundering regulations which specify customers’ must provide proof of ID such as a valid passport or driving licence when opening a savings account. We have fully investigated and although we can understand it has caused the customer distress and inconvenience, we must comply with regulations.”

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