Transgender woman’s bank account frozen because she ‘sounded like a man’

A transgender woman from Nottingham was left humiliated when her bank account was frozen after she spoke to a member of staff over the phone, who decided that she sounded like a man.

Sophia Reis called Santander bank last Thursday and was speaking to a member of staff, who told her she was not allowed to access her funds.

Participants carry a large flag as they take part in a Gay Pride procession in Hong Kong on November 10, 2012. As anti-discrimination laws continues to expand globally, the participant marched to promote equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)


She was later told by another representative that her bank account was frozen because they thought she sounded like a man.

Reis says she informed Santander of her name change in November after she transitioned in 2016.

She was able to answer all security questions, however despite this, Santander froze her debit card and accounts, and asked her to visit a branch to provide ID.

Reis has since been assured that a note has been placed on her account to let future representatives know of her circumstances. However, she says it could happen again.

According to BBC News, Reis was left “embarrassed” and “humiliated” by the incident, and said she felt that she had to explain herself “yet again.”

She also said that she spends her life looking over her shoulder as she is afraid that something could happen at any time.

In a statement released by Santander, they admitted that their service “was not as good as it should have been” and wanted all customers to experience equal and fair treatment.

The bank added that they have a “duty to protect the security” of accounts, but also apologised for the offence caused.


Transgender people continue to face significant discrimination in their everyday lives. Recent research from LGBT+ charity Stonewall found that two thirds of British people are concerned about the abuse that transgender people face.

They can also experience hate crimes, with one school in Oklahoma recently being forced to close after parents threatened to castrate a transgender child.

The horrific messages were sent on a Facebook group for parents of students in the school, where parents discussed castrating the child and getting their children to beat her until she didn’t go to school anymore.