Teenager who does not identify as 'male' or 'female' unable to open bank account

'Why are they collecting this information at all? Why is gender important?'

Jess Staufenberg
Monday 02 May 2016 22:42
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RBS allowed the teenager to open an account with no gender but does not recognise Mx
RBS allowed the teenager to open an account with no gender but does not recognise Mx

A teenager cannot open a bank account because they do not identify as male or female as per the application forms.

The tick boxes for bank accounts and university applications, which do not currently include a third gender option, have left 17-year-old Kaelin unable to open one.

Keith Farnish, the student's father, has received rejection letters from banks to his request that they add a non-binary option and is now campaigning for change.

"Barclays. HSBC. Santander. Halifax, TSB, And Lloyds. Every single one requires gender to be male or female," he told BuzzFeed.

"Why are they collecting this information at all? Why is gender important? There are other ways of identifying people."

The Royal Bank of Scotland did allow Kaelin to open an account without a gender but did not recognise Mx as a title over Mr or Miss or Ms.

Most UK banks - except the Royal Bank of Scotland - require a male-female application

Kaelin's GP, meanwhile, did change Kaelin's title and only kept the teenager's biological sex in records for medical purposes.

Kaelin said they felt lucky to have the full support of their parents while other people got used to the idea.

"I'll meet someone and talk to them and notice I've completely messed with what they thought the whole of society was based on," said Kaelin.

"I had a 10-year-old come up and say, 'Are you a boy or a girl?' And I said, 'I'm neither.' And his jaw dropped to the floor and was like, 'What? You can be that'."

Kaelin added: "Being able to give that support is cool. It's not all sadness and confusion."

Mr Farnish said he wanted a "complete sea change" and had even re-written the code for university applicant site UCAS to show how easy it was to add a third, or non-binary, gender.

"I would like Kaelin to just be seen as a person and not be judged for who they are," he said.

Non-binary people identify as something other than entirely a man or entirely a woman, which may include identifying as transgender, or as male sometimes or female sometimes, or other forms of identity experience.

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