The move was welcomed by transgender campaigners when it was announced on November 3.
Metro Bank has been praised by campaigners after it became the first British Bank to welcome customers who don’t identify as male or female, BuzzFeed reports.
Founded in 2010, Metro Bank is the newest to open on the British high street. As of today, its application forms will allow people to declare themselves as non-binary and use the title “Mx” rather than Mr, Mrs or Ms.
The decision came about after Scottish teenager Kaelin Farnish spoke to BuzzFeed about their frustration at not being able to be recognized as non-binary when trying to open a bank account.
“It’s another reminder,” they told BuzFeed. “A reminder that you’re different. But I don’t think I’m particularly different to other people – I just don’t fit male or female, I drift somewhere in the middle. So going on to the websites and seeing that, it’s disheartening. Even people who haven’t grasped the concept of non-binary or haven’t met anyone who’s non-binary will know that transgender people exist.”
Explaining how their decision to include a non-binary option came about, Chief People Officer of Metro Bank Danny Harmer said, “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 non-binary 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.’
Kaelin told BuzzFeed that they “hope this sparks something so that gender options and gender choices become less rigid,” while chef, writer and non-binary campaigner Jack Monroe described the move as a “positive step.”
“It might seem like quite small potatoes to people who are not affected by it,” Jack added.
“But it can be quite invalidating to come up against a series of daily tick-boxes that tell you that you don’t fit, that you’re not right. It makes such a difference to people who are affected by it.”