Monthly Archives: September 2012


I called in and gave my new address to CIBC bank in late April this year. They still sent my new visa card to my old address, but thank God I had the post office forward my mail. I just called them to inform them of the mistake, and make sure they had my correct address on file, after I had checked the online visa information and discovered they may have changed the new address I had given back to the old one. I was put on hold and immediately put through to the “fraud department”, once I called. The lady who answered asked the usual questions, to assure I was in deed who I was claiming to be (thank God as I was beginning to think maybe I was not who I was claiming to be). She proceeded to tell me that I was informed in 2010 that I needed to go to a downtown branch and straighten out my “gender issue”, since when originally getting this card, I was reported as male. And she could tell by my voice and by my new legal name that I was female. I told her that I was male when first given this card, that I was now transgender and in fact not Female. And I have been using this card for a few years now with no problems. She told me that I would still have to go to a local branch and straighten out “this gender issue”. I told her that I do not have a gender issue, your company seems to have the gender issue. And asked her “are you suggesting I go to a local branch to prove my Gender?”. She told me she will look into this and call me back. Of course they called back, but not right away, but when I was in the shower (isn’t that always the way?). They left a message and I have called back since, of course now I am speaking with someone else. The second lady I just spoke to has informed me that I have to go into a local branch because of the address and gender issue. I told her I have never, in all the years I have had this card, had to go in person to give a change of address, so this is obviously a Gender situation. I personally think that they should be consistent with their “company policies”. But I am warning all my local Torontonians, who may work at CIBC, when I go into the local branch I will be extremely clear on my Gender, even if this involves blatant nudity! And guess what, it is no longer about Male or Female, it is about humanity. Anyone who knows me, that crying victim is never one of my behaviors, but this thing screams discrimination to me. I asked her if being male, female or otherwise has anything to do with me spending money on this card, and giving them the interest payments that they have no trouble charging. Not sure I will not just pay the balance of this card, and then cancel this card. I understand that not all people working in the CIBC center are Canadians, but I am damned that I will tolerate being belittled by others who do not share our freedoms, that we have fought so hard for. But even then, shame on you CIBC for being a Canadian bank and not at least teaching tolerance and acceptance to anyone and everyone dealing in your customers service centers.

Trans people and banking part two

Wow I am beginning to feel like a criminal. I called the local branch at Young and Queen, to ask if this was a usual policy to have to come to a branch even though this could easily be activated over the telephone, as it always has in the past. He told me that I indeed had to come in person. He also wondered why my account was marked as Male, and of course I explained that I am transgendered. I asked him if I should be coming by and changing my account to Female. He said “if you have gone all the way”. I told him I have gone as far as I am going, at this point, so what gender should I be on my account? After some stuttering and nervous giggling, he said I should come in with my id, to verify who I am. I told him I know who I am and how is coming in with my id going help, when it was never required in the past. He was obviously not prepared for this situation, and I even pointed out to him that I was not trying to confuse him or trying to make him feel uncomfortable. I was simply trying to educate him, as this will certainly not be the last time he will have to deal with this type of situation. He said that they want to make sure that I am not someone trying to use Miss Taylor’s card. I told him I understood this, and appreciate the fact they are making it difficult for people who may be pulling credit card fraud. I also informed that many Females have masculine voices and many Males have feminine voices. And that if I was trying to use a card registered to a male, I would be smart enough to use a male voice over the phone.

 I called into the center again today just to see if in fact the address change was the problem, and did not even try to activate my new credit card (the old card does not even expire till mid October). The person who answered today, had no trouble changing the address at all. I had informed him that I was going to go into the bank and confirm my identity, and I was not looking to activate my card over the phone. My concern was only that any further correspondence from CIBC was to be sent to my new address. This was actually done in a very friendly and courteous manner, by him. So it comes back to the fact, that the address was not the issue, that the gender is the only issue. I then proceeded to log into my online visa account with CIBC, and it has been deactivated. So I called in to the online banking service and the lady told me I had to re-register once my card was activated. I have paid off the balance owing, through my TD online banking account (who by the way have never batted an eye, through my whole transition, and have never told me I have to come in and prove my gender status). And I will visit a local CIBC branch, before I make the final decision whether to continuing giving my visa business to CIBC or not. I am a fair and reasonable person, and I am willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, hopefully this will be used as a case study, to help make CIBC and other large companies aware that this may end up becoming a large issue, if it is not understood and dealt with now.

I had decided to go to the local CIBC branch today, in hopes of resolving this situation. So I decided to try one more time to activate the card over the phone, before making the trip. Figuring if I had to create a mini scene in the bank, throwing myself on the floor ranting about how I have suffered enough, not to mention lighting, props, script and just the right amount of lip gloss (over the lens not on my lips). The preparation would have been inconvenient and definitely no hope of a Genie award nomination.

When I called in to the CIBC Centre, a gentleman answered, and asked all the pertinent questions; my secret password, my phone number and my address etc. He then informed me that the cardwas now activated and ready for use. I asked one more time clearly if they actually had my correct address attached to this account. He informed me that it was all done and everything was fine. Then her proceeded to try selling me insurance on the account, in case I got sick and was unable to make payments on the account. I told him politely that I did not need insurance, as I do not run my card up to totals that I unable to pay by month end. I do not know what happened from Sept 17th till now, that changed the status of my account, and why they had decided to accept the fact that I was born one way, but sounded and was named another. And I am not sure if I should be move relieved for myself or the unsuspecting staff at the local CIBC branch. But I am glad at least something was mended, and perhaps another handful of innocents. were educated about the existence of Trans people, and everything is not always cut and dry regarding gender.

I still have not decided if I will keep the CIBC visa card, or just cancel the card entirely, but I am satisfied that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, and instead of ranting and raving, at ignorance, perhaps some patience and education may go a long way .