A transgender woman has spoken of her upset after she was refused service in a pub because staff did not think she looked like the person on her ID .
Savanna Galloway, 19, said she left Wetherspoons on Tuesday in tears after being told she would not be served.
She showed her passport to prove her age, but was told by two members of staff her picture did not resemble her.
The pub chain has apologised and said it would review its policies on asking trans customers to provide ID.
But it stressed that it remained a legal requirement for “a valid ID which resembles the person presenting it” to be provided when proof of age is needed.
‘That’s not you’
Ms Galloway and her friends were in the Counting House in Glasgow when the incident happened.
When asked to prove she was over 18 on entering the pub, the 19-year-old showed her passport and explained to the person on the door that she was trans.
They accepted her passport as proof of her age and the group entered the pub.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, they ordered drinks on an app and had them delivered to the table.
The barman who came to deliver the drinks challenged Ms Galloway’s age and asked to see her ID.
She showed him her passport, but Ms Galloway said he told her: “That’s not you”.
He said her ID could not be accepted and sent for a manager, who agreed the passport was not acceptable.
Ms Galloway said she explained she was transgender, and even offered to remove her wig to show them what was underneath – as in the passport picture she had short hair.
She said her face has not changed structurally: “I think it still visibly looks like me,” she added.
The teenager said she then left the pub in tears.
Bars should change their procedures for asking trans customers to provide ID, she said.
It is not the first time she has been questioned about her ID picture. She added: “A few times I’ve gone in [to other pubs] and they’ve said ‘that’s not you’, but my voice isn’t very feminine so when I speak it clears up the fact that I am trans, and I tell them that I am too.”
Being surrounded by a network of supportive friends and relatives since she came out in February last year, she said this was the first time she felt uncomfortable, adding: “I felt like absolute dirt.”
She said “I felt horrible. I didn’t want to cry… I waited till [the staff left the table] before I left in tears.”
“I was lucky enough to be with friends, and that we were in a private area – but if I was rejected in front of loads of people I think it would have felt even worse.”
She said the experience made her wonder whether other trans people had faced similar problems, and she thinks changes should be made to Wetherspoons’ policies.
“Training for staff is needed to deal with this in a sensitive manner,” she said.
A spokesman for Wetherspoons apologised “wholeheartedly for any distress caused”.
He said under the law, staff need to ask for photographic ID (like a driving licence or passport) from anyone who appears to be under 25 to prove anyone buying or consuming alcohol is over 18.
The spokesman continued: “Because the staff member believed the customer concerned to be under 25, the customer was asked for ID when drinks were taken to the table after being ordered via the app.
“The picture on the customer’s passport did not bear a resemblance to her and therefore she was asked for another form of acceptable [photo] ID, which unfortunately she could not produce.
“The manager stated correctly that the customer would not be served the alcohol ordered as she did not have ID with a true likeness to her and the cost of the drinks was refunded.
“The incident has shown that providing ID for transgender customers may present difficulties and we will review our processes in the area.”
He added that it remained a legal requirement for “a valid ID which resembles the person presenting it” to be provided when proof of age is needed.