Last month, Joni Bendall, a transgender woman, was told to only use the men’s changing room and was ignored when she protested. Now, Primark have released a handbook on how to properly deal with potentially transgender people using changing facilities.
Joni Bendall runs a trans network in Ipswich, UK. Despite being in a generally LGBT tolerant area, Miss Bendall has described how she faces verbal abuse and discrimination daily. In Primark, when she was directed to the men’s fitting rooms she said to the assistant, ‘I am not a man’ however she was ignored by staff. This is not an isolated incident: six months earlier in the same store she was made to use the disabled fitting room.
‘I ended up leaving the shop. It made me feel dysphoric and it made me very aware of being the way I am, which is not very pleasant sometimes, it really messes with my head and all you need is for one person to confirm that all the bad things that you think about yourself are true.’
Now, Primark has released a handbook to give to staff so they are no longer confused as to which fitting room to let a transgender person in. A quote referring to trans people in the booklet reads: “Customers should be comfortable when they try anything on, so transgender people may use whichever fitting room they choose. When in doubt it’s pretty easy to know what to do – just give the same level of great service to everyone!”
Now, hopefully, Joni Bendall will be the last trans person to have to deal with discrimination based on gender in the store.
Have you been discriminated against in Primark or similar stores? If so – speak up, complain and get policies changed, disabling discrimination, bit by bit!