If somebody treats you differently because of your protected characteristic...
- Gender/gender identity
...then you are being discriminated against, and this is never okay.
Whilst people are entitled to freedom of speech, the Equlity Act 2010 has guarenteed six situations where you are protected against discrimination:
- "at work
- in education
- as a consumer
- when using public services
- when buying or renting property
- as a member or guest of a private club or association"
- direct discrimination - this is when you treat someone from the above list differently for no more reason than their protected characteristic.
- indirect discrimination - this is where you don't directly state your discrimination, however you put things in place to hinder those with a protected characteristic, such as not providing disabled access to buildings for people in wheelchairs.
- victimisation - this is attacking someone (verbally or otherwise) because they've complainined about, or come forward about, discrimination.
Whilst you can talk to the person or use a mediator to help the situation, there are firmer actions available.
You can go to a court or a tribunal to try and fix the situation. The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) (https://www.gov.uk/equality-advisory-support-service) is available to help advise you on your best approach to the situation.
This also applies within a working enviroment, in which you have the option of an employment tribunal.
If you are in a discrimination case then you may be able to acces legal aid to help with you costs (https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid).