British bank becomes the first to welcome nonbinary genders
Exclusive: Metro Bank has introduced a third gender option for its customers, after a teenager could not open a bank account because they didn't identify as male or female.
Metro Bank, a bank in the U.K., has started offering customers the option of selecting “nonbinary” as their gender and “Mx.” as their honorific.
The bank’s decision came after a nonbinary Scottish teenager, Kaelin Farnish, gave an interview expressing frustration that they couldn’t open a bank account because they didn’t want to have to check “male” or “female.”
Danny Harmer, the chief people officer of Metro Bank, told BuzzFeed News how the development came about: “One of the people in my team said to me, ‘Have you seen this article? This teenager struggling to set up an account?’ They sent it to me and said, ‘Can we do something about this?’ And I said, ‘We must be able to.’ So I spoke to the IT guys and said, ‘Can we do anything about enabling people who are nonbinary to open an account with us and not force them to specify or identify with a particular gender?’ And they said, ‘Well yes, I’m sure we can.’” […]
These new options for customers, however, could be just the beginning. “If customers come in and say, ‘I’m trans and actually I want something else, then we’ll take the feedback and sort it out,” said Harmer. “We thought we’d start somewhere. I think a lot of organisations get tied up in finding reasons not to do things and worrying about how it might be misinterpreted. If people get a bit annoyed with me for getting it 80% right I’ll take that, because I’d rather have it 80% right than not try at all.”
Harmer also sought to highlight the wider experience of people who don’t identify as male or female. “Once you realise this is an issue [you notice that] every single thing you pick up says, ‘Title: Mr or Mrs.’ And then the next question is ‘Gender: male or female.’ And one of the things at Metro is that we try to listen. Sometimes there are issues that are too difficult to do something about, but this one was definitely not one of them.”
The change also extends to bank employees, who can now be listed as nonbinary and/or use Mx. at work. Well done.