All Lizzi Duff wanted was to check her bank balance. But the Seattle trans woman says the customer service representative at Peoples Bank didn’t believe she was the kind of people she said she was: female.
"They said they couldn't give me the information because they had this account listed as Lizzi Duff, female,” Duff told KIRO-TV. “And I said that's me! I am Lizzi Duff, female. Your records show that. She hung up me. They hung up on me.”
According to the station, the city agency would not give details, but a copy of the complaint says it relates to "unfair public accommodations practices with respect to denial of full enjoyment [of] services due to gender identity in violation of the Seattle Public Accommodations Ordinance."
"We want everybody to know, and businesses, anyone who provides a service, to know, you cannot treat people differently based on their protected class," Patricia Lally, director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, told KIRO-TV.
Duff said it was last November that she called the bank to find out her account balance. She said the customer service agent refused to believe that she is a woman, and would not provide her account information even though she successfully answered the bank’s security questions.
"Clearly what happened, this person on the other end of the phone not being able to see me and if they had been able to see me, was profiling me. Profiling my voice," Duff told the station, and she says it actually happened twice before she complained.
According to KIRO-TV, she even alerted the bank manager about the issue and asked if employees could sign up for gender sensitivity training with the Gender Justice League, but she said repeated requests were ignored. She ultimately decided to file a complaint with the city, and now plans to join transgender advocates at a protest outside one branch of Peoples Bank this Saturday.
The bank released a statement from Tony Repanich, Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Banking and Marketing Officer:
"The City of Seattle Civil Rights Office has a well laid out program that works to resolve complaints.
"The Bank is actively participating in their process with hopes of coming to a fair resolution. For the benefit of our customers, we do not discuss individual customer relationships. The bank does not discriminate.
”In response to her attempt to obtain information by phone, in today's world of identity theft and account compromises, we are constantly balancing providing a higher level of customer service with protecting customer's private and confidential information."
"I don't want money. I don’t want damages. I simply want the chance, we simply want the chance to change the trans-ignorant and trans-phobic culture at Peoples Bank," said Duff.
Click below to watch Lizzi Duff's story, as reported by KIRO-TV: