When Matteo Romans went to the Fido store in Calgary’s Southcentre Mall he was hoping to renew his wireless plan and upgrade his phone.
Instead, the 25-year-old transgender man says he faced bureaucratic hurdles that he feels amount to discrimination.
“They took my phone number, and they searched it onto the computer. It came up as Jennifer Cunningham. They were like, ‘This isn’t you’? And I said, No, it is. I’m female to male transgender. And they said, sorry, we need a piece of photo ID that says ‘Jennifer Cunningham’ on it,”said Romans.
“I said, I’m not going to be able to give that to you. Because that’s not who I am anymore. I showed them my old healthcare card, and my SIN number that both have my dead name on it, that still was not enough for them.”
Romans’ girlfriend Jori Magee accompanied him to the store, and said staff at the Fido outlet refused to accept his legal name change further insulted Matteo by starting to use female pronouns after learning he was transgender.
“We tried to explain that he has the documentation of the legal name change through the Government of Alberta. That he can provide two pieces of ID with his dead name, two or three more with his legal name. Also, his driver’s license that assigns him to the sex of male at which point they told me that it’s political, that he is transgender, that they don’t get involved with politics,” said McGee who says the employees also began using female pronouns when talking to and about Romans “They started calling us both by she and her pronouns, it was switched within seconds of us explaining that he’s transgender.”
Fido, which is owned by Rogers Communications advertises itself as an ally of the LGBTQ2S+ community, but Magee says staff in the store seemed unaware of what that actually entails.
“We pointed out that on their bags in the store, it has the gay pride flag inside their Fido symbol,” said Magee “One of their one of the coworkers literally said, I don’t know what that is. So if that doesn’t scream that Fido and Rogers need to educate their staff, I don’t know what does.”
A spokesperson for Fido said that the strict requirements for photo ID are needed to prevent what is known as account-takeover fraud.
An emailed statement to CTV said, “Fraudsters have been trying to take advantage of customer’s accounts by adding themselves as an authorized user and performing the fraudulent hardware upgrade transactions at retail stores, typically targeting high-end devices. “
Fido said it has procedures in place for those transition their gender to change their names on accounts, but that must be done through their call centres, which use different metrics to assure identification.
The statement also reiterated Fido’s support for the LGBTQ2S+ community, saying:
“Fido provides ongoing support to organizations like PFLAG, has campaigns like Off-Mute to promote conversations among LGBTQ2S+ artists, offers peer-to-peer support to LGBTQ2S+ communities, and sponsors Pride festivals across the country.”
In its statement to CTV Fido does say that the interaction Romans had at its Calgary outlet did not live up to the company’s standards writing “The experience this customer had at one of our stores does not reflect our commitment to delivering the best customer experience in every interaction, while upholding a culture of ally ship across our organization, and we offer our sincere apologies to this customer for not living up to expectations.”
After reading Fido’s response Romans remains unsatisfied telling CTV “This is not a sincere apology.
“This is another way to sweep an issue under the radar and make okay. It is not okay,” adding, “I’m here to make sure something is done and to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else in the community that FIDO ‘supports’.”