Transgender Fitting Room Policies At Major Stores

by Jamie Cuccinelli

Like a lot of people, my biggest fitting room worry is that none of the jeans I picked out will make my butt look good. But for many, that's a microscopic concern compared to the potential human rights violation they might have to endure. For transgender individuals, having a store employee humiliate, dehumanize, or turn you away for simply wanting to try on clothes in their fitting room is a constant — and sadly, legit — worry. Back in July, a transgender woman was expelled from a lingerie store in Austin, Texas. Earlier in 2011, another transgender woman was thrown out of a Macy's dressing room for make the audacious and ludicrous attempt to just try on some clothes. To see how other mass chain stores dealt with transgender customers, Ashley Hoffman at Styleite cold called a handful of your (probably favorite) stores, inquiring on their transgender fitting room policies.

Many of them, including H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever21, couldn't be more accommodating or happy to serve their transgender customers. American Apparel was one of the most excited to offer unisex dressing rooms and insistent that no customer should ever feel discriminated against, saying "If you’re transgender, there’s absolutely no problem... We’re not one of those stores. You can be perfectly comfortable if you choose to try anything on.”

Zara on the other hand... Well, I'll just let their quote speak for itself:

"No, if you want to go to try some clothes, you are not able to do that. If a man wants to go, no we don’t allow that. It’s because that’s our policy, we don’t allow men to try some clothes, and vice versa for women.” If the ‘man’ identifies as a woman? [After a hold....] You can talk to the manager."

Um. Not great, Zara. With public figures like Laverne Cox and Andreja Pejic being openly transgender, the movement towards trans acceptance is, finally, starting... but clearly, we have a long way to go. Any companies or people stuck with antiquated ideas of what defines a woman should consider getting their acts together, before they end up looking ridiculous.