A SEX swap instructor at an all-female driving school was left devastated when the Sheffield husband of one of her pupils threatened to sue her firm - for sending a man to teach his Muslim wife.
Emma Sherdley - formerly a married dad of two called Andrew but now legally a woman - has the full support of her boss Joanne Dixon who says she is a popular and respected instructor with 32 female pupils on her books who have no problem with her past.
Emma, aged 42, has a birth certificate and a "gender recognition certificate" to prove her legal status as a woman although she is still waiting for final surgery to make her transition from male to female physically complete.
She says she has never had a problem with any of her other pupils and says the complaints made by the man from the Meadowhall area of Sheffield, were: "hurtful, offensive and deeply upsetting".
She is being backed by her boss, Laugh n Pass owner Joanne Dixon, who
says the man had called her to accuse the firm of sending a man disguised as a woman because he was a Muslim.
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Joanne, who set up Laugh n Pass with all-female teachers designed to put ladies learning to drive completely at their ease, told The Star: "Emma is a popular and very well-respected instructor.
"That man accused us of being racist, yet his attitude towards Emma showed prejudice of the very worst kind."
The problem began when the man booked a two hour driving lesson for his wife.
Emma travelled from her Holmfirth home to Meadowhall and collected the woman from her home and the lesson began.
But after the first hour of the lesson she told Emma she would have to cancel the remainder of the lesson because she had to go home to breast feed her baby.
Joanne said: "Then the husband rang me and said he was going to sue us.
"He was saying, 'You have sent me a man, send me a proper female, how dare you send a man with a deep voice'. Then he claimed we had deliberately sent a man disguised as a woman because he was a Muslim.
"His attitude and his behaviour was outrageous and has upset me and Emma and everyone else who works here. We are not racist, we are not sexist - if anyone was being so it was that man."
Emma says the outburst had made her seriously consider quitting her job.
But she says Joanne's support has made her determined to ride out the storm and carry on with her career.
She said: "I always knew as a child that I was a woman stuck in a man's body. I tried hard to be a man, getting married and having children, but it never worked and never would.
"For the past six years I have been what is correctly called
'transitioned'. I still have to undergo the final surgery, but legally I am a woman.
"That is what my birth certificate says, that is what the gender recognition certificate proves, and for that prejudiced and biased man to threaten to sue me and the driving school is totally and utterly wrong.
"I currently have 32 female pupils and not one of them has a problem, it is just this one man."
Joanne, who employs 20 female instructors who teach women throughout South and West Yorkshire, says her all female driving school is so popular she currently has 30 people on her waiting list.
She said: "Here at Laugh n Pass we says each of our female instructors promise to be friendly,professional and patient - that is exactly what Emma is and for her to be subjected to abuse and threats is simply intolerable."
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