London’s Metro Bank has become the first in the United Kingdom to welcome Gender-Nonbinary customers.
Metro is the newest high street bank in the UK, and for those who do not identity as male or female, the bank has introduced a ‘non-binary’ gender option on their account applications, along with the title “Mx” – an honorific which does not identify a gender – which will now exist alongside the titles: Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms.
According to Buzzfeed, the bank’s decision to introduce ‘non-binary’ as an option, and accommodate those who do not identify as male or female, came as a result of an interview they ran earlier this year.
Scottish teenager Kaelin Farnish, who identifies as non-binary, spoke to Buzzfeed and revealed the frustration he felt at not being able to open a bank account.
The reason being that no other gender boxes were provided on bank applications except ‘male’ or ‘female’.
As a result, Farnish found it impossible to register for a bank account.
“When you are filling something in and you do not identify as male or female and you only see those two boxes then you do not see yourself there,” Farnish told them.
“You are absent. That must hurt, and that is what makes me angry. There is no reason for it. It does not need to be like this.”
The chief people officer of Metro Bank, Danny Harmer, also revealed why the lack of gender options on the bank’s application sheet was finally addressed.
“One of the people in my team said to me, ‘Have you seen this article? This teenager struggling to set up an account?’.”
After reading the article Harmer thought the bank must be able to do something about the issue of a lack of gender identity – something no other bank in the UK had acknowledged.
Other people who identify as non-binary have welcomed the decision, which may encourage other large corporations to speaking out about gender equality.
“This is a massive step and it feels great. Your bank card is something that people use practically everyday so to have the correct title used is very important,” Joe* told Artefact.
But while the introduction of a non-binary option may seem like a turning point for those who use the Metro Bank, Joe believes there are still issues which have not been addressed
“The only downside to this is that when a bank card is needed alongside other legal documents to prove your identity, they will not all match and there may be some difficulties there.”
While many agree this is a turning point for those who identify as non-binary, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to the representation of other groups such as those identifying as transgender and pansexual.
A lack of banks choosing not to follow in the direction of Metro Bank also highlights a further issue.
Metro Bank first opened in 2010, and now operate more than 40 branches across London and the South East, as well as offering private and business banking alongside online, telephone and app services.
Artefact approached Metro Bank for comment, but had received no response by the time this article was published.
*The name of the interviewee has been changed.
Featured Image by Tony Webster via Flickr CC