The third degree should never be part of a bra-shopping experience, but that's what happened to Kylie Jack, an Austin resident and trans woman, when she went shopping at local lingerie store Petticoat Fair on Monday. According to a post on Jack's Facebook page, a Petticoat Fair employee barred Jack from entering the fitting room, asked her for ID to prove she's female, and stated that she "needed bottom surgery in order to get a fitting." Jack described feeling "humiliated" by her experience, and called for Austinites to boycott the shop until it removes its "transphobic and cissexist policies."
As Petticoat Fair's own Facebook page flooded with comments in support of Jack, the store's owner, Kirk Andrews, issued a rather defensive and contradictory semi-apology, citing the need to keep the dressing room private:
"[T]here seems to be a misconception that Petticoat Fair has a policy of not working with the transgendered community. That is not the case. In fact, we have served the transgendered community for most of our 50 years in Austin. What we do have is a policy regarding who may or may not enter our fitting rooms. [...] The dressing room is a particularly private and vulnerable place for many women and girls, so it’s a protected area. If it’s unclear whether a customer is a man or a woman, we err on the side of caution as a protocol, but never on the side of discrimination or intolerance."
Of course, not letting a transgender woman into your fitting room because she does not adequately "pass" as a cisgender woman is an inherently discriminatory policy. Not to mention the fact that surgery is besides the point, because genitalia does not a gender identity make. Aside from the fact that it's really nobody's business where Jack is in her transition, what store employee publicly grills customers about the current state of their bits prior to serving them? There's a reason the phrase "Welcome to Chipotle, how's it hanging, can I take your order?" doesn't ring a bell.
Predictably, the Internet did not take well to the non-pology. So today, store owner Andrews reported that he's scheduled a meeting with the Transgender Education Network and transgender advocate Meghan Stabler to develop a policy that is "inclusive, respectful, and sensitive to all of our customers and employees." He also stated simply, "We messed up. We are sorry for that, and we are working diligently to do better." Let's hope the real apology is just the start of change, because providing "privacy" for some of your customers should never mean humiliating others. (The Gloss)
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