Fran transitioned from male to female 10 years ago. She has spent her life experiencing bullying and harassment because of her gender identity and has been the victim of several hate crime incidents.
Fran was experiencing pain in her right thigh and attended an outpatient appointment. When Fran entered the waiting area she gave her name and confirmed her appointment time. The receptionist explained there wasn’t an appointment for a Fran Walker but there was one for a Mr Frank Walker. Fran explained that she should now be referred to as Fran as she had requested all records be updated to reflect her gender reassignment. The receptionist explained she was unable to do that until the medical records were updated. Fran was asked to take a seat in the waiting area. Fran was in discomfort but before taking a seat explained again it was Fran or Ms Walker, not Frank or Mr Walker.
While Fran was waiting for her appointment she heard a member of staff calling for a Mr Frank Walker. Fran sat where she was, angry, frustrated and embarrassed that she was still being referred to in the wrong gender. Eventually after a repeat call she stood and walked into the treatment room. She was still very upset and asked why, despite explaining she wished to be called by her new name, staff insisted on calling her by her previous name. The member of staff explained the name on her record was Frank Walker, not Fran, and until they heard otherwise, she would continue to be addressed as Frank or Mr Walker.
Fran tried to remain calm and explained that if she was referred to as Frank again she would make a formal complaint. The member of staff reiterated the position so Fran explained that staff were in breach of legislation protecting trans people. They were deliberately disclosing her previous birth gender and so could be held liable and receive a significant financial penalty under UK law. Fran stated that if it happened again she would take formal action.
The equality Act protects trans people in a number of ways, one if which is to ensure previous birth gender is only disclosed to another party when necessary with appropriate controls in place and then only with the expressed permission of the trans person.