Topman & Topshop Bring In Gender Neutral Changing Rooms

The high street fashion stores are among the first to abolish gendered changing rooms in favour of gender neutral changing rooms

Travis Alabanza, the trans person who sparked the conversation with Topshop and Topman around gender neutral changing rooms
Image: Credit: Travis Alabanza

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.”

 

Safety

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.”

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.”

 

Abuse

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”.

“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.

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.

What do you make of Topshop and Topman’s gender neutral changing room policy?

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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