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Trans customers: A guide for door supervisors

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has produced this guide for door supervisors on how to ensure trans people can have a safe and enjoyable time going to pubs, clubs, festivals and events. It has been written in consultation with trans people and groups as well as security industry operatives.


Trans or transgender are umbrella terms used to describe individuals who have a gender identity that is different to their sex when they were born.

Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of whether they are a man, woman or non-binary.

Non-binary is the word used to describe someone who does not identify themselves exclusively as a man or a woman.

Someone’s sex is based on their physical characteristics. It is either male or female.

Take at face value what a reasonable person is telling you about what they need and who they are.

Don’t expect a trans person to look or sound a particular way. Ask people how they want to be addressed. Don’t assume that someone wants to be called “Sir” or “Madam.” You can ask someone what their name is and if they are happy with you calling them by their name. If in doubt, talk to the trans customer about what they need and how you can help.

Be aware that you might get situations in which a trans person looks different to how they look on their ID. While some trans people do change their ID to their new identity, some trans people do not want to change their ID, others may not have changed their ID yet or they may be unable to change their legal identity.


Allow the customer to choose whether they want to be searched by a male or female member of staff. It is never acceptable to search someone to find out their gender.


If a trans person says that a particular toilet is appropriate for them, then that is the appropriate toilet for them.

It is not a trans person’s fault if other people object to them using the toilet they feel is appropriate for them.

A trans person is more likely to be a victim of violence or sexual assault. They are particularly vulnerable to attack and victimisation in toilets.

Trans people can be nervous about using a toilet if they feel other people will have issues with them being there. They may sometimes not go to places if they feel other people will complain about them using the toilet.

Don’t require a trans person to use an accessible (disabled) toilet if people complain about them using a male or female toilet. However, let a trans person use the accessible toilet if this is what they are comfortable with and want to do.

Equality Act 2010

It is unlawful to refuse a service, or provide a worse standard of service, because a person is intending to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender reassignment. For example, this means that stopping a trans person from using the toilet they feel is appropriate to them may create a risk of legal action being taken against the pub, club or venue you work at.

It is also unlawful for a business to unlawfully discriminate against or harass someone because they intend to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender reassignment. A business can be held legally responsible for unlawful discrimination or harassment carried out by its workers during their employment. In some circumstances, those workers may be held personally liable for any unlawful discrimination or harassment they engage in.

Transphobic hate crime

Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived transgender identity, is a hate crime.

Hate crimes are particularly traumatic for victims. A customer who feels that they are the victim of a transphobic hate crime may need your help and support, including if they (or another person) wish to report it to the police.


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