The good news, on the department store front, is that they appear to be listening. (And this post is about a week behind the times, so apologies for that).
I dropped a line that was about as non-confrontational as I could possibly be to their HR and diversity managers and lo! A day later, I heard back from a senior manager in the store concerned and from the company’s overall diversity manager.
So far so good. The first is going to raise the issue of dealing with trans with their staff in general, whilst the second now has my contact details in her roladex and might just take me up on the offer of a little diversity training some time. Not holding my breath: but I didn’t feel fobbed off, either.
All of which left me trying to get my head in order on the issues raised. One thing I am acutely aware of is how apologetic I tend to be. Sometimes. I do stand up for myself: but equally, I dislike confrontation, and I dislike creating situations for others.
So, I am almost worried by an observation that some customers might feel uneasy at my sharing a changing room with them. Ditto toilets.
But hang on: where am I supposed to go? And would we accept someone being uneasy at sharing a changing room with someone of a different colour or faith? So maybe this is a place where I will continue to put my foot down.
As for toilets…well, an observation from a friend puts this into perspective: which is that recent government policy on such spaces seems directed mostly at “protecting” the decent majority from us deviant trannies! Why? Possibly because of the ugly association with the s-word: most anything that goes on along the LGBT spectrum is linked to “sex” at some remove in the eyes of policymakers.
So whilst they are happy to provide unequivocal protection for racial and gender minorities, officialdom tends to get a little squeamish when it comes to “sexual” ones.
Except, of course, the evidence – and the need – is all the other way. I am far less safe using men’s loos: and I need to go some time. There are plenty of documented instances of trans women being abused or even assaulted in male spaces: bugger all instances of the reverse happening. So if an individual woman feels sufficiently threatened by my presence not to wish to share, is the solution a) to ask her to wait two minutes or b) to prevent me from using the facility at all?
I suspect far too many would still opt for (b).