I guess it serves me right. No sooner do I gird myself up to write, in some detail about issues raised by an employee refusing to allow a trans woman into the trans changing rooms in Macy’s, then Nemesis, always listening, ups and bites me in the bum.
Bras to die for
Yesterday, with two hours to kill between meetings, I was happily shopping my way down Oxford St. Lingerie shopping mostly and, since John Lewis in Peterborough had, in the end, turned out to be so helpful, I swung into John Lewis Central London.
Some lovely stuff on display, and was instantly in love with their range of t-shirt bras. Clean lines, minimalist pattern, a wonderful range of pastel colours. I was about to say no frills: but actually not the case: they mostly came with ribbon inlay and/or added (decorative) buttons, which worked well with the overall simplicity.
Shock! Horror! (Tranny alert!)
I was very happy with the way I was treated by the floor staff in the lingerie department: happily picked up a couple (of bras!) to try on, at which point… the bottom fell out of my afternoon.
Noting that I was about to head to the main (women’s) changing room, one of the assistants looked worried. “Oh”, she interjected. “Perhaps you should use this changing room”, indicating another smaller room away from the main facility.
Huh? Outed, put down and made to feel like total shit in just one sentence.
“Why?”, I challenged.
“I don’t see why she can’t use the main room”, the other assistant added sweetly (for which I am seriously grateful). So:
“Well, er, OK”. The first one grudgingly allowed, before following me to the changing room and standing bulldog guard outside my curtain.
I tried on the bras. But my heart wasn’t in it. My day was utterly spoilt and I was on the verge of tears. After, I approached the department manager, who was apologetic, but added comment along the lines of: “its not about you. Its just that some people might object”.
Ah. I wonder if John Lewis also maintain a separate changing facility for jews and persons of non-white origin in case their BNP shoppers object?
Also added was some stuff about how I might be embarrassed. Really? I guess if I was I could have made that known: they could have asked before assuming.
So tomorrow I shall be complaining. Loudly. To their head office. And I shall be wanting some very serious answers, because this is not the first time.
Because the last time I had to endure this sort of indignity, phrased in almost exactly the same terms, was back in 2010 in a totally other branch of John Lewis. The similarity is too great. It really does seem to me that they operate a transphobic policy – and if that turns out to be the case, I am not going to hang about before resorting to the law.
On what happened yesterday, I’ll concede that it is possible – as some posters have suggested – that it is actually store policy to lurk outside changing rooms for reasons of helpfulness. In this instance, I may have interpreted it as more sinister than it was given the original insult (and the fact that there appeared to be no-one lurking outside any of the other changing cubicles.
All growed up – and not taking it any more
Otherwise, what happened back in 2010 was a near carbon copy. I was welcome to try on garments – but assistants directed me to another changing area altogether. Then head office excused this with almost exactly the same wording – about how some folk might object.
Back then, early days, self-deprecating, mostly asking permission just to be, I went along with that. Today I’m bloody not. As I said (politely) to the manager: its none of her business what I have in my knickers (I was good enough not to threaten to drop them in front of her)…but irrespective of that, the main reason I haven’t bunged in my application for a gender recognition certificate (and thereby obtained my full legal recognition as female) is that I haven’t had time to look out the paperwork.
It doesn’t matter. I’m female. Which is what it says on my NHS records, Tax records and soon (when I replace the old one), my passport, too. And I am very, very angry.