Gender DynamiX, a South African transgender rights organisation, has applauded First National Bank for assisting a refugee transgendered woman with opening a bank account.
The non-profit organisation is providing support to a Burundian transgendered person who has applied for refugee status, hoping to permanently stay in South Africa.
According to Gender DynamiX, she has faced grave peril in other African countries due to the fact that she is a trangendered person. She presents herself as female, although her identity documents state otherwise.
After many failed attempts to open a bank account, due to both her foreign background and transgender status, a sales consultant, Roy Kendall, from First National Bank arranged to set the wheels in motion with the CEO of Gender DynamiX, Liesl Theron.
On that same day a meeting was set up between Kendall, Theron and the person from Burundi. The meeting took place in the residence of the Burundian so that the correct address could be verified. The same afternoon Mr. Kendall phoned to confirm that the bank account had been opened and validated.
Theron has lauded the bank and “the compassion, respect and professionalism of Mr. Kendall”, adding that he even offered to create a note on the Burundian’s profile to remind all bank employees that although the customer’s name and passport may temporarily indicate that she is legally male, she is to be addressed as female.
“This is one of the many headaches most transgender people are faced with”, explains Liesl. “They are identified as the gender with which they present until the moment they are asked for identity documentation. Then bank tellers and security personnel are most often at a loss for what to do next.”
“Perhaps the next big challenge for banks will be to determine if a customer’s title really needs to be stated on cheques and credit cards. If a valid reason cannot be given, then the omission of titles like Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Mnr., and Mevr., can be a first step in serving the needs of transgender clientele,” says Theron.
Gender DynamiX is the only African based organisation for the transgender community, committed to provide resources, information and support to trans folk, their partners, family, employers and the public. For more information about Gender DynamiX visit www.genderdynamix.org.za or contact Liesl Theron on 083 320 7691.