Trans woman seeking damages after railway staff called her 'sir' twice is blasted by viewers
The number of people who identify as transgender has vastly increased in the last decade. In a report by The Williams Institute, the number of transgender individuals in the US now stands at 1.4 million, which is roughly double what it was 10 years ago.
The last decade has also seen an incredible rise in LGBTQ rights across the globe. But no matter how amazing it is to celebrate equality, there are some people who are left confused by the changes we are seeing within our society, and this confusion can often manifest itself as ignorance - whether intentional or not.
And misgendering a trans person - that is, referring to that person as their former gender - is something that can be seen by many as ignorant. One trans woman who has been left feeling "insulted" by being misgendered is Katie Yeomans, who claims staff at a rail company referred to her as "sir" on two separate occasions.
Yeomans is now demanding an apology from Southern Rail, along with a potential £2,500 ($3,300) in compensation:
Yeomans - who underwent hormone therapy in 2015, received her female birth certificate in 2016, and then underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2017 - said in an interview on UK talk show This Morning that, "all the people who know me within my area have been absolutely fantastic".
However, after asking a train guard a simple question on a busy Southwestern Rail train, she was told: "Just sit down there, sir, and I'll be with you in a minute".
Not wanting to cause a disturbance on a busy train, Katie decided not to correct the guard, but after a second incident occurred two weeks later with a different ticket officer, Yeomans spoke out. Recalling the incident, Yeomans said:
"I dressed as female, I wore a pink coat and scarf. I had purchased my ticket, showed my railcard. I asked, 'What platform is it?' To which the worker replied, 'It's platform one, sir'". I said: 'This is the second time in two weeks I've been misgendered.'"
Katie revealed the staff member offered "excuses" as to why he called her "sir", one of which was that his glasses were "steamed up".
When hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby asked how being misgendered makes Katie feel, she replied: "Very angry and insulted, because "I've worked tirelessly these last five years in transitioning. I'm very proud of who I am."
But perhaps the biggest question asked by Schofield was: "Was it done maliciously?"
We're living in a constantly progressing world, and with so many changes happening, mistakes are bound to happen as people are learning to recognize these changes. Viewers were very quick to defend the railway company, with many saying that it is very possible these incidents could have been innocent mistakes on such busy trains/platforms:
Yeomans has revealed the complaint is currently being dealt with by a rail ombudsman, but that she is willing to take the issue to court if needs be, with a potential compensation of £2,500 on offer.
The Daily Mail reports that a spokesman for Southern Rail has said: "We have looked into this thoroughly and dispute what has been claimed.
"However, with investigations ongoing, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment on this particular case.
"We promote diversity within the organization and across the rail industry.
"We have a popular, active LGBTQ+ community at Southern and Govia Thameslink Railway and are vocal champions of employees who identify as such, celebrating them both internally and in the media."