What if you’ve been refused goods, facilities and services?

.I’m a trans woman using my local sports centre. A member of staff told me I can’t use the women’s changing facilities because it might upset the other users and I’d have to get changed in the disabled toilets. I felt it was really demeaning, but what can I do?

Being refused goods, facilities or services because of your gender identity or sexual orientation is discrimination and it’s illegal under the 2010 Equality Act. There are several things you might consider doing. For example:

  • You should contact Galop or another advice service to consider your options. Galop can give you information about your rights.
  • If you are dealing with a larger organisation you could ask to contact the manager or customer services department about your experience and make a complaint.
  • Be persistent – point out they don’t have the right to stop you accessing goods, facilities or services. If you are trans, you are not required to produce a Gender Recognition Certificate in order to access facilities or services.
  • You might decide to take legal action against someone who refused you goods, facilities or services.

My partner and I were holding hands in a café – the owner asked us stop or we’d have to leave – isn’t that a hate crime?

Being refused goods, facilities and services is against the law, but it is not a criminal offence. For example, if you were refused a booking at a restaurant or hotel the matter would not be subject to police action unless another offence, such as verbal abuse, took place. If someone also said something derogatory towards you, then you should consider reporting it.