NatWest has been criticised for its submission to the Women and Equalities Committee’s consultation on making it much easier to change legal sex.
The bank said it supported the notion of people being able to ‘self-declare’ their gender “with no requirement for additional evidence” – a stance it says it has already taken with its own staff and customers.
It said the law should be changed to remove the requirement for someone to have lived in their chosen gender for at least two years, and the need – if married – for their spouse to consent. But critics say the majority publicly-owned company is acting outside of its role and should not be taking a stance.
Trans Widows’ Voices (TWV), a group which represents women whose husbands have chosen to live as if the opposite sex, tweeted: “how did they consult their customers/ shareholders/ employees to arrive at this very political stance?
“And given the difficulties trans widows often have in obtaining fair financial settlement in divorce, can those trans widows who bank with NatWest no longer trust them to be neutral?”
Baroness Sheila Noakes, a former director of both NatWest and the Bank of England, shared the group’s concerns, adding: “There is too much woke nonsense circulating in major corporates.”
In a further statement, TWV said it was “horrified” that NatWest had taken a position “entirely outside their remit”.
“We think it unlikely that NatWest has consulted its customers, share holders or employees on this matter, and members of all these groups are just as likely to be trans widows as they are to be transgender”.
It continued: “We fear NatWest can no longer be relied on to act impartially in disputes between trans widows and their husbands”.
The group said spousal consent is “an essential safeguard” which prevents women “being trapped in legally same-sex marriages they did not sign up to”.