A man claiming to be ‘trans-feminine’ took to Twitter to complain about the fashion retailer Topshop after being denied access to the ladies changing room.
Topshop updated their changing room policy after Performance Travis Alabanza’s tweets made headlines. An employee at Topshop told Alabanza to go to the dressing rooms in Topman as the ones in Topshop are only for ladies. Alabanza, who identifies as a trans-feminine, didn’t take it well.
Hey @Topshop just experienced transphobia in your Manchester store. Not letting me use the changing room I decide is shit, sort it out.
— Travis (@travisalabanza) November 5, 2017
Trans-feminine is a term employed by some people who are born male but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity. They often demand to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” and “them.”
“She wasn’t rude, but she wasn’t sympathetic either,” Travis told Buzzfeed. “I said, ‘I’m not going to be safe down there. What do you want me to do?’ and they just kind of shrugged.”
“I did think I could buy the dresses and take them home to try on, but I felt like, why am I doing this? My day instantly became politicized when all I wanted was a chill day shopping,” Travis said. “It’s just been a whole stretched-out thing when all I wanted was to go into Topshop and go out.”
Travis added: “I normally online shop for this reason.”
Topshop later contacted Travis and reiterated their policy that all changing rooms were available for everyone.
“It goes beyond responding that they have all-gender changing rooms,” Travis said. “They clearly need to train the staff about what it means to serve every kind of customer, how to advocate for us and respond against people who are phobic.”
“Naturally I was already getting looks and stares as I always do, and that is the kind of thing you’re used to when you’re trans, but I think when I was stopped at the changing room, I noticed the stares even more” Travis added.
“I was quite upset – it ruined my day.”
Some customers are not happy about the change.
One Mumsnet user wrote: “Fine to have same sex facilities if they are single, hard walled, proper door cubicles that provide ceiling to floor covering but they aren’t and I’m sure they won’t be funding new ones.”