Following a complaint from a trans customer, Topshop and Topman have confirmed that they now provide customers with gender neutral changing rooms.
Travis Alabanza, a performance artist and trans gender-non-conforming person, claims they attempted to use the female changing rooms in Topshop only to be directed to the male changing rooms in the Topman area of the store.
Alabanza called out the retailer on Twitter saying: “Hey @Topshop just experienced transphobia in your Manchester store. Not letting me use the changing room I decide is shit, sort it out.”
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
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Alabanza explained that the staff at Topshop were uninterested in their safety, which made the simple act of shopping in a store “politicised”.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to be safe down there. What do you want me to do?’ and they just kind of shrugged,” Alabanza explained.
“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 politicised when all I wanted was a chill day shopping.”
“I normally shop online for this reason.”
I just want to remind everyone : my body isn't male. My body has never been male. I am not male. Have a lovely day pic.twitter.com/zY3FS4dWta
— Travis (@travisalabanza) November 7, 2017
The Independent reports that Topshop and Topman changing room policy had already been put in place during the summer, but that staff had not been informed of the revision.
A spokesperson for Topshop and Topman confirmed the policy change which also applies to each of the retailers’ fourteen stores in Ireland: “All Topshop and Topman customers are free to use any of the fitting rooms located within our stores.”
The performance artist has since received some support online, but mainly disapproval which reared its head as transphobic abuse.
One Twitter user offered solidarity with Alabanza, declaring that the legacy the performance artist will leave behind will be “massive”.
Fuck em, you are changing the world and opening up bits of space for others to exist in, your legacy will be massive. Solidarity.
— Juno (@JustJuno1) November 7, 2017
“You surely deserve love – all people do. But that doesn’t mean women have to be ok with you in their changing rooms,” one woman tweeted.
You surely deserve love – all people do. But that doesn't mean women have to be ok with you in their changing rooms.
— emmy. (@wakingviolets) November 7, 2017
Another made use of Twitter’s new 280 character limit to belittle trans people, while conflated being trans with paedophilia and using the hashtag #BoycottTopshop.
I'm a woman and I strongly object to you letting men in female changingerbread rooms just because they have some vague feeling of gender and like to wear makeup whilst making paedophilic comments about children. Disgusting. #BoycottTopshop
— Sylvia Pankhurst (@SylviaPankhurs4) November 8, 2017
What do you make of Topshop and Topman’s gender neutral changing room policy?
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