If at a swimming pool, you are bullied by other swimmers, shouting “It’s a bloke!” or other such abuse, do you have any legal rights to stop that? Possibly.
I never dealt with discrimination by services, and only had one case of discrimination by a club. It was a working men’s club, where women could go generally, but on Sunday mornings there was a men only Bingo session. I did a questionnaire to the club committee, as a shot across their bows, and then the client told me to stop, saying she did not want to fall out with people.
So I looked it up. If a business owner harasses you, you have a complaint under the Equality Act. The business owner must take precautions that their employees don’t harass you either. The law does not state what they should do, but the more they do the more they are covered. The Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests that they publish their equality policy and details of their equality training. So if you complain about a worker, the employer is warned, and should take action: if the worker harasses you again, you should have a claim against the employer.
But what about other people using the service? In a pub, say, when someone comes up and asks if you are a man or a woman. The Citizens Advice site says that there is a right against employees, but does not say explicitly whether there is a right against other users. This is what it has to say:
You’re a woman. Whenever you work out at your local gym the other male gym users tease you and make insulting comments– for example, that it’s better not talk to you right now as it must be your time of the month again. You could have a claim for harassment related to sex.
“Could” is useless. It means “might or might not”. You need the detail in the EHRC guidance (pdf): Usually a service provider will not be responsible for discrimination, harassment or victimisation by someone other than their employee or agent, however, case law indicates that it is possible that they could be found to be legally responsible for failing to take action where they have some degree of control over a situation where there is a continuing course of offensive conduct, but they do not take action to prevent its recurrence even though they are aware of it happening.
How could that be? The business is permitting the harassment, so is responsible for it. So, you could complain to a worker. In the pub, tell bar staff that this other person is harassing you, and you want them to deal with him. Suggest that they tell him to leave you alone or he will be thrown out. Explain that the law says they should support you against the harasser.
I have no idea how to find relevant case law, but refusing to protect you against the harasser is direct discrimination. Other people can drink there in peace, but because you are a trans woman you are harassed. The business is giving you the service on worse terms than it is other people, who are not harassed.
You might not want to complain like that. It is a matter of human relations: you might prefer just to leave and not cause a scene. Personally I would not threaten court action immediately, but might be prepared to if the worker refused. Pubs want their clientele to be happy. They don’t want problems, and should be able to see the person causing the problem is the harasser and not you. You have a right to be in that pub, or any other business, without anyone abusing you.