Post Office in sex change row

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A transsexual woman has accused the Post Office of discrimination after she was unable to open a savings account in Lancaster.

Fiona Stewart, 62, changed her name from Stewart Emmett in 2008 and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2009.

She later underwent surgery to become a woman .

But the retired writer 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.

Fiona deposited £590.90 at a branch. She then received a letter from the Post Office, which said the money had been paid into a holding account and Fiona needed to produce two official documents.

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 a member of staff said she needed a passport or driving licence, which she says led to an argument.

She said: “The whole idea is I’m living a new life where my male persona is over and done with.

“I’m no longer Stewart and I can’t provide old details. I haven’t got a driving licence and my passport is in my old name with my old picture. The law on sex change is that we’re supposed to be accepted. I said ‘you’re discriminating against me’.”

Fiona said she had since been unable to reclaim the deposit and was concerned that £100 of it, a cheque for her travel expenses to the hospital where she underwent surgery, could now be lost.

She added: “They told me to ring a number, and on the phone I had to say I was a transsexual.

“The moment I say it my whole confidence and belief in being Fiona disappears.”

The Post Office apologised for “any concerns the customer may have regarding the opening of this savings account”.

However, a spokesman said: “The Post Office must comply with anti-money laundering regulations which specify that customers’ must provide proof of ID such as a valid passport or photo card driving licence when opening a savings account.”