Transgender woman can’t make transactions as bank thinks ‘she sounds like a man’

A transgender woman has told how she is unable to make phone transactions with her bank because they think "she sounds like a man".

Ellen Westerleigh, 22, changed her identity last September and informed HSBC bank that she now identifies as a woman but now claims she is still receiving new bank cards with 'Mr' rather than 'Miss' on it.

She is also unable to carry out transactions because staff did not believe it was the person they were speaking to despite her passing the security questions.

The 22-year-old claims she was told she would have to go into a branch – the nearest one being Nottingham city centre – to make any transactions in the future.

Ellen, from Strelley, Nottingham, said: "I opened the account in October last year. I had to order a new card and they sent a card that said 'Mr' rather than 'Miss.' They said it was an error.

"Every time I ring up to speak about my account they say I 'don't sound like a woman.' I have to prove who I am and I shouldn't be having to do that.

"I know I sound like a man but that is not the point. I do feel uncomfortable ringing up my bank. It has happened three or four times and it is ridiculous.

"It has got to a point where I have to go into my branch and show my ID, and I do not live near my branch. The nearest is the city centre."

Miss Westerleigh, who was previously called Kurtis, says she had known for a while that she felt uncomfortable as a male.

"I grew up with two sisters and it was obvious. I always wanted to put on dresses or play with their toys. In September, I thought it was time to be true to myself."

She said friends and family had been very supportive and she was currently waiting for hormone therapy and a sex change.

She changed her name to Ellen, because she is inspired by the American television host Ellen Degeneres.


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