A SECURITY guard at a major shopping centre could be hauled before the courts on hate crime charges after a transgender woman said she was barred from female toilets.
Police have launched an investigation after River Song claimed to have been verbally abused by the staff member at the St James Centre.
The employee is alleged to have said “You are a male and always will be” and “it’s got a penis” after River used the toilet.
The 18-year-old, who is engaged to a transgender man also awaiting sex swap surgery, said she had used the female toilets in the centre without any problem for two years and had been left in tears by the ordeal on Monday.
Equal opportunities groups said the case amounted to unlawful harassment and said staff could face criminal charges.
River said: “A security guard pulled me aside and asked me if I had had a sex change. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing but I answered him, saying ‘no’.
“He then asked me, ‘Why have you used the female bathrooms if you haven’t had a sex change?’ He asked for my ID which I showed him and as he glanced at it he said, ‘This is a male, you are a male and always will be a male’.”
She said that she then went to rejoin fiancé Jake Wood, 18, in the food court, but was followed by the security guard.
“He continued to make comments aimed towards me and at one point he said ‘it’s got a penis’ which is so offensive,” she said. “We get abuse on a daily basis but I have never in my life been treated so badly and felt so humiliated.”
James Morton, a manager at the Capital-based charity Scottish Transgender Alliance, said that there was no legal
requirement in UK law for a transgender woman to undergo any surgery in order to be legally recognised as female.
He added: “Verbally abusing a trans women by calling her ‘it’ and demanding to know whether she has undergone genital surgery is unlawful harassment under the Equality Act 2010 and could even result in criminal charges against the security guard for threatening or abusive behaviour.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said that police had attended a city centre shopping centre after receiving reports of offensive comments made by a security guard. Inquiries are
The St James Centre declined to comment.