If a firm doesn't accommodate a customer's race, religion, disability or sexual orientation they could be ignoring their rights under the Equality Act
Disabled people and those who have specific needs due to their religion or sexual orientation, for example, often fall victim to inflexible bank rules, the Financial Ombudsman Service has warned today.
The dispute resolution body said that in many cases customers do not know they have the right to ask their bank or financial provider to provide them with a personalised service if they need it.
Under the Equality Act, people have the right to ask a business to make "reasonable adjustments" so they can use the same service as everybody else, for example by helping a blind person access their bank account.
Caroline Wayman, the chief ombudsman, criticised banks for being overly concerned with "compliance" and failing to properly handle sensitive situations.
"All too often, the practical steps we suggest could have been put in place much sooner – avoiding unnecessary delays, frustration and inconvenience for the consumer," she said.
In one case, a bank confused a female customer's gender reassignment with fraud, and blocked her credit card. A few days before the account was suspended, Ms B had given her bank a ring. After the call, the staff member she had spoken to raised concerns about the pitch of the customer's voice.
They thought that a man had been trying to use the credit card – registered in a woman's name – and blocked any subsequent transactions as fraudulent.
But the bank had been informed that the customer used to be a man. She had already given the bank medical records from her gender reassignment operation, carried out three years previously. After Ms B explained the situation, the bank unblocked the account. The ombudsman told the bank to pay £500 for the frustration and embarrassment caused.
Deaf customer denied online banking
Disabled customers also have the right to ask for reasonable adjustments to the service they receive.
A deaf customer, Ms S, was told that in order to access her online banking, she would need to telephone a customer helpline. Even though she could not hear, the bank staff member said she could only authorise her account via telephone due to "security procedures".
The same week, her debit card was swallowed by a faulty cash machine. Left without her card for three weeks and locked out of online banking, Ms S had to rely on spare cash. Unable to access her account, several of her direct debits were refused and she incurred charges. The bank agreed to refund the charges, but still would not budge on the telephone issue.
The bank eventually told Ms S that she could activate her online banking via post. The ombudsman said: "If they had told Ms S about this, the problem probably wouldn't have arisen in the first place." It awarded recompense of £500.
In another case, an 80-year-old woman complained that her insurer had rejected her claim after refusing to communicate with her in Polish. Following rain damage to her ceiling, the insurer had sent a loss adjuster to Mrs H's home – but they could not understand each other and the claim was not properly settled.
Mrs H said that as she was getting older, she had trouble remembering her English. The Ombudsman said that the insurer should have sent a translator, as it had previously written to Mrs H in Polish, and the firm agreed to pay the claim.
The equality act explained
Firms are legally required to make "reasonable adjustments" for certain people, for example by helping a disabled person receive the same service as an abled-bodied person.
The legislation protects individuals with "protected characteristics", including a person's age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The Equality Act says that firms cannot discriminate against anyone "requiring the service by not providing the person with the service."
Dark day for gay rights
Two Indian Supreme Court judges just decided that gay sex is illegal.ILLEGAL!! But if we act fast we can help reverse this crazy backwards ruling.
Men and women in India now face police harassment and life imprisonment. This hateful decision is being met with outrage, and if we now show India that outlawing love is making them an international embarrassment we can get the Indian Parliament to fast track passing a law that the judges have to respect.
Sign now to help love conquer fear in India. When we reach 1 million we’ll get all our names written on hundreds of giant hearts ringing the Indian parliament, then place prominent ads showing that the world will no longer accept making love illegal.
Google has issued an apology – after a translation tool suggested a number of offensive translations for the word “gay”.
A new feature of the company’s Google Translate service offers a number of suggested translations for words.
However, a number have people have noticed that the system often gives a number of homophobic terms when trying to simply translate “gay”.
Translating to languages including French, Spanish and Portuguese yielded the offensive results, including poof, queen, faggot and fag.
Meanwhile, trying to translate from ‘гей’ – the Russian word that Google translates ‘gay’ to – gives English suggestions including faggot, fag, fairy, queen, sodomite, pansy boy and homosexualist
Recordings have emerged of UKIP General Secretary Matthew Richardson using a slur to refer to transgender women.
Mr Richardson made a number of controversial comments while addressing right-wing groups in the US, which have emerged across the Sunday papers.
He appeared at one point to suggest the party was happy to support ‘bigots’, saying: “I’ve said before, people talk about UKIP being bigots.
“There are hundreds of thousands of bigots in the United Kingdom and they deserve representation.”
At a separate event he ripped into the National Health Service, which he labelled “the Reichstag bunker of socialism”, and attacked the provision of gender reassignment surgery.
He ranted: “I promise I’m not making this up – breast augmentation, hymen repair for those who want to be born-again virgins, is paid for by the National Health Service.
“Socialists think that if somebody wants to reassign their gender the state should pay, they think that’s how the world works. So if you love she-males come to the United Kingdom, if you love freedom – stay here [in the US].”
The politician told the Sunday Mirror: “I don’t recall the conversation taking place but some of the words attributed to me are actually a quote from the late [Tory MP] Eric Forth, which if they were spoken at all would have been on a discussion about him.
“None of this is reflective of my own views or those of the party and I am sure any reader would recognise the difference between a formal party position and the sort of jag lots of people have with their mates while having a drink.”
Nigel Farage told Andrew Marr: “It just shows you the depths this general election is sinking.
“The Tories, Labour, their friends in the media, any attempt to damage UKIP.
“If you’re expecting me to ban all UKIP officials from going into the pub and smiling and laughing and joking, it isn’t going to happen.”
A British Army general could be about to make history, by coming out as gay.
The officer – who has served in the armed forces for over 25 years – could be on the verge of coming out.
Speaking anonymously to the Mail on Sunday, the general – who is married to a woman and has children – said he plans to open up about his sexuality to challenge claims that discrimination no longer exists.
He told the newspaper that he is part of “a small number of senior officers in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy who have decided to keep their sexuality secret because of the potential impact it might have on their career”.
He added: “The Armed Forces cannot claim it is an equal opportunities employer when the view persists that any senior officer who announces he is gay will see his or her career go up in smoke.’
“I never considered outing myself until another very senior officer said he believed that admission of homosexuality by a senior officer would be career suicide.
“I actually felt like saying, ‘Actually I’m gay and it has never prevented me from serving Queen and country’.
“I was furious, but in the end I let the comment pass.
“But over the last few weeks, I actually started to ask myself whether the time had come for someone of my rank to speak out and to say that you can serve your country at the highest levels of the Armed Forces as a gay man or woman.”
The general says his wife is aware of his sexuality, adding: “After a great deal of soul searching’ they decided to stay together. We love each other deeply.”
He also said: “It might come as a shock to some people but there have been and there are gay members of the SAS. I have met them.”
The Army LGBT Forum said: “Army personnel of any rank, contemplating the difficult decision to come out can get support. Contact us at http://armylgbt.org.uk
Doctor Who has been nominated for a GLAAD award – for an episode which featured the show’s first lesbian kiss.
The sci-fi show has been nominated for episode Deep Breath – which aired in August, and featured its first lesbian kiss between Silurian lizard-woman Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her human wife Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart)
The pair have recurred on the show since 2011 and have long been portrayed as lovers.
Controversially, the moment was deemed too controversial for audiences in Asia – with the kiss censored from broadcasts on the BBC Entertainment channel in several Asian countries.
The censored version, excluding the kiss, was shown in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
A BBC spokesperson told Pink News: “In order to comply with broadcast regulations in Asia where our BBC Entertainment channel airs, BBC Worldwide made a brief edit to the first episode of Doctor Who Series 8, but did so without detracting from the storyline.”
The episode has been nominated for Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character).
It faces competition from the “Down a Tree” episode of Good Luck Charlie – the first Disney Channel show to feature a same-sex couple.
Later in the same series of Doctor Who, a previously male iconic character made a shock return in the finale – as a woman.
A report released by the BBC showed that three viewers had taken up formal complaints against the series for promoting a “homosexual agenda”, while the BBC as a whole was accused of “pro-gay bias”.
#McDonalds in #Leicester suspends doorman after claims he ordered two men to stop kissing #LGBT #GAY
A @McDonalds security guard has been suspended following a claim he asked a man to stop kissing his male friend because it was “making people feel uncomfortable”
The doorman at the branch in Market Street, Leicester, apparently told Matthew Dummigan there was “no kissing” allowed at the fast food chain when his male friend “pecked” him on the lips.
Matthew, 23, told the Mercury he asked the bouncer whether it would be “acceptable” if they were male and female, and said the doorman responded “yes”.
#Saks Continues to Assert a Legal Right to #Discriminate Against #Trans Employees #Transgender #LGBT
On Tuesday, the chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company effectively doubled down on Saks’ claim that it has a legal right to discriminate against, harass, and fire trans employees simply for being trans. At the same time, the chief executive asserted that “it’s preposterous to think that in any way Saks Fifth Avenue is anything but a strong advocate for LGBT rights.” The company will thus continue to fight trans discrimination lawsuits by claiming that trans employees have no legal protection against workplace harassment.
A bit of background here: In December, Saks sought to dismiss a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, Leyth O. Jamal, who claims she was harassed, then fired, for being a trans woman. Rather than fighting the allegations, Saks merely insisted that it is legally permitted to discriminate against trans workers, and so Jamal’s lawsuit should be dismissed out of hand. Adding insult to injury, Saks’ attorneys referred to Jamal as a male throughout their filings—and, when quoting Jamal’s own complaint, they added a “[sic]” after every reference to Jamal as female, as if to aver that her identification as a woman is factually wrong.
To be fair, there is some controversy over the relevant law here. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employment discrimination based on sex, and the Supreme Court has interpreted this provision to include discrimination based on irrational sex stereotyping. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department and Justice, and several circuit courts have concluded that sex stereotyping includes anti-trans discrimination—and though the Supreme Court has yet to confirm this interpretation, the law is clearly moving in that direction. However, Saks is ignoring this trend altogether, instead proclaiming that “it is well settled that transsexuals are not protected by Title VII," and on Tuesday affirming that they will use the lack of final SCOTUS or legislative guidance on the question to advance their case.
Reasonable people can disagree about the scope of Title VII’s sex discrimination provision. But Saks’ arguments here are troubling for two reasons. First, the company could have argued that it did not discriminate against Jamal, leaving larger questions about Title VII aside. If it’s true that Saks’ employees did not mistreat Jamal, this argument would be easy to make. The fact that Saks felt compelled to assert a broad legal right to discriminate against trans employees suggests the company was nervous that it might lose the case on the merits—in other words, that its employees actually did discriminate against Jamal.
Second, and more importantly, Saks’ legal strategy here is incredibly dangerous for the LGBT community. Should the Supreme Court agree that Saks has a right to discriminate against trans employees under Title VII, the trans community would be devastated. Decades of progress in securing legal rights for trans people would be instantly reversed, and trans employees in dozens of states would suddenly lose their only legal protections against workplace discrimination and harassment. The fact that Saks is willing to risk this calamity suggests it is not quite the “strong advocate for LGBT rights” that it claims to be.
Until now, Saks could have claimed—however dubiously—that its motions against Jamal did not represent the views of the company’s leadership, and apologized for the debacle. Instead, Saks has stood its ground, refusing to rescind even its insistence that Jamal’s identification as a woman is a fiction. In a recent interview with BuzzFeed, the company said it “maintains a long history of policies and practices that are fully supportive of the LGBT community and our LGBT Associates.” Those are pretty words to put in a PR campaign. But when the chips are down, it’s painfully clear that Saks doesn’t mind demeaning the entire trans community if it saves them a little money.
Please read the full article
A poster has been put up at University of Bristol misgendering trans women and claiming cis women need to “surrender their boundaries”.
The poster appears to be a parody of one put up by Bristol’s LGBT society which went viral in November. The original poster read “If you’re out in public and you can’t figure out a stranger’s gender, follow these simple steps: 1. Don’t worry about it.” Bristol LGBT society widespread praise for its trans-positive campaign.
The new posters claim to be giving advice for women if “a man tries to enter a women’s bathroom”. They refer to trans women as “transgender males” and claim they rape women “every nine minutes”. Its advice is “kindly surrender your boundaries” and “don’t worry about it, men know better than you.”
It claims to be from the “MENZ+ Society” which does not exist, but appears to be mocking the trans-positive stance of Bristol’s LGBT+ Society. The style is similar to language used by anti-trans feminists, often referred to as TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists).
Bristol University Feminist Society condemned the posters. President Hattie Stamp told Epigram, Bristol’s student newspaper: “I think it’s a really hateful thing to do, its intention is to make trans people feel unsafe at Uni by calling them transgender males (when they self-identify as a woman) and completely dismisses their experiences and incites discrimination.”
Equality, Liberation and Access Officer Alice Phillips said: “I’m extremely disturbed by the appearance of this poster in the Wills Memorial building.
“There is absolutely no place for transphobia at the University of Bristol and as a Union we’re going to be doing everything we can to find out where this has come from.
“Security services are going to be extra vigilant on their patrols and are going to be taking down any posters they see.”
No one has claimed responsibility for the poster.
At the end of January, the Kaleidoscope Trust will hold its 2015 Annual Gala Dinner in London. Here is your chance to win a pair of tickets to go along!
The Kaleidoscope Trust is a UK charity that works to uphold the human rights of LGBT people globally. The Annual Gala Dinner is a tent pole fundraising event, funding much of the Trust’s work. A high profile and glamorous affair, it attracts top tier politicians, business leaders and celebrities. Now in its third year, the event has raised well over £100,000 that directly supports the Trust’s work around the world.
78 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships. The Trust works with LGBT activists and organisations around the world to build support for equality in their communities, with their political leaders and in international institutions. Overcoming global homophobia and transphobia is a massive undertaking; the Gala Dinner is one of our strongest tools to raise funds to meet that challenge.
PinkNews is proud to be the media partner for the Kaleidoscope Trust Gala Dinner 2015 and has donated advertising industry to support the charity’s work.
For your chance to win a pair of VIP Gala dinner tickets click here.
Just a few days ago news broke that Russia had enacted new rules banning people with "mental disorders" from driving. In Russia transsexualism and transgenderism are listed as "mental disorders," making it criminal for transgender people to drive there.
It is hard to disagree when people say that some areas of the world are going in the wrong direction when it comes to human rights. People are discriminating against, harassing, and murdering trans people every day, not just in Russia but in all countries, though I think these issues have started to get more attention with big stars like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock telling their heartbreaking stories to the world. The world is essentially evolving, but at the same time it's very clear that countries like Russia are going in the wrong direction.
In some places more and more hostility toward the trans community is being created. Even though I think it's absurd that we in 2015 are calling trans people mentally ill, I can understand that the lack of accurate media coverage of this topic has had a negative effect. With almost no stories coming out showing trans people as human beings, there's a huge disconnect between the trans community and the general public. Adding to the problem, few people have ever met a trans person.
Because of this, I think the fifth episode of The Pearl of Africa has special value. Not only does it give a glimpse into the trans community, but it does so within the context of a hostile society in Uganda. I hope that this Web series will help change the perception of transgender people as mentally ill, and that Cleo's story will create the feeling of having met a trans person for anybody who hasn't had that chance.
This week's episode covers discrimination against LGBTI people in Uganda. Cleo is invited to a secret meeting with the Ugandan government to prove that she's real. In the episode I search for an answer to the question of why it's so hard for people to accept anything that doesn't fit into society's norms.
If you've missed any of the previous episodes, you can find them here.
Ellen DeGeneres is set to executive produce a new comedy series for NBC based around a lesbian starting a family – but insists it is not another “lesbian comedy”.
The out TV host is producing ‘One Big Happy’ along with writer Liz Feldman, whose life the show is loosely based on.
24 actress Elisha Cuthbert will star as Liz – a single woman who decides to settle down and have a baby with her male best friend (Nick Zano), only for him to meet his dream woman (Kelly Brook).
However, DeGeneres warned audiences and reporters not to typecast the show as a ‘lesbian comedy’.
She said: “It just happens to be a very funny show. It happens to have a lesbian character in it.
“It’s not like I formed a production company and said, ‘Bring me all your lesbian scripts.’
“I’m not just going to be a lesbian machine that just turns out stuff. All I wanted to do was put out really funny material [that’s] smart and thought-provoking.
“If this is thought-provoking and helps people open their minds a little bit and see a multiracial couple, to see a lesbian character and to see a guy who is her best friend that has a relationship, that’s a whole other story.
“They’re just going to be people that you love and watch and don’t think twice about any of it being weird.
“It’s just friendship or family or whatever that is. I think friendship is obvious, but family is not so obvious. Family changes all the time.”
The show will act as a spiritual sequel to the TV host’s own sitcom Ellen, which ran from 1994 until 1998.
Feldman said: “What we’re trying to do is almost pick up where [Ellen] left off, in a way.
“It’s not coming from any sort of agenda, ‘what can we do to put another lesbian on that television?’ It’s coming from the truth.
“I set out to be honest and tell an authentic story that felt really true to me.”
The show will première in the US in March. A UK broadcast date has not been announced.
A leading porn site has offered pop icon Justin Bieber a substantial amount of money to star in a porn film alongside gay-for-pay Johnny Rapid.
In a video for Men.com, which Rapid exclusively performs for, he says the ‘Baby’ singer would be paid $2 million (£1.31 million) for just a few hours work on the set of a porn film
The versatile actor says: “It’ll be easy… I’ll do most of the work.”
Earlier this week Bieber was the subject of controversy after apparently unretouched versions of images from a Calvin Klein shoot were released online. Bieber’s management denied that the images, which showed a thinner Bieber, are real.
Plans to open the first LGBT school in the UK are under way,with funding secured, and a site selected in Manchester.
The school, which is being planned by LGBT Youth North West, will host 40 full-time pupils, and will be established in the heart of the city.
Some part time places will be available for pupils who wish to continue attending a mainstream school.
The school is aimed at LGBT students who struggle to fit in at mainstream schools, but will also be open to any other children who wish to attend.
According to Children and Young People Now, LGBT Youth North West said it hoped the school would be a “trailerblazer”, which will be replicated by other parts of the UK.
The charity was awarded £63,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government community assets and services grants programme.
Amelia Lee, strategic director for the charity said the school was backed by Manchester City Council, and fits into the city’s alternative provision offer.
“This will provide for LGBT young people who don’t feel they fit in the mainstream,” Lee said.
“In Manchester in December we had a girl called Lizzie [Elizabeth Lowe] who committed suicide in a park because she was struggling with coming out and was worried about telling her parents.
“Lots of pupils have a really tough time and we want to do what we can to help those pupils and to give them additional support.
“We can either hope every school is going to be inclusive or we can recognise we are not there yet and we need more specialised schools. This is about saving lives.”
The curriculum of the school will also be based around youth work techniques, Lee continued, saying: “The scope for having schools that work for pupils rather than work for the system is massive.
“We have an education system that sets up five to 10% of pupils to fail.
“This could be an example for other LGBT schools, but equally for young carers, young parents, and young people with mental health problems.”
Where the school will be built is currently the site of the Joyce Layland Centre, which provides a decidated space for LGBT organisations, including meeting spaces, offices for rent, and a library and cafe.
Being Transgender or Gay is not a choice, being Transphobic or Homophobic is, so don't be a Twonk