Primark Staff Encouraged To Let People Change in Whichever Room They Choose


Primark LogoLast 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!


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A developing photographer, artist, musician and journalist. An ally and activist for trans rights.

1 Comment

  1. I think all sides need to discuss how the subject of changing rooms and bathrooms affects transgender people and natal born gendered people.

    I believe that every truly gender dysphoric person should have the right to change or use facilities based on their gender identity. That said, there are many people who will not pass as the other gender by appearance no matter how well they try, or maybe they are early in their transition. Should we let everyone use whatever facility they want based on their word only? I ask this because the answer seems obvious to Gender Dysphoric people, but there may be a small amount of people who use this loophole for purposes other than being Gender Dysphoric. How is that policed?

    It’s not an easy subject to have a policy around. On one hand you let everyone do whatever they want no questions asked. On the other hand you make a policy that may still create problems.

    What if laws required a gender marker change? That doesn’t work for a couple of reasons. #1 who is checking ID’s? #2 WHY would you be checking ID’s (someone appears a different gender and that isn’t a good enough reason to question their gender identity.

    That is just one example of how I have thought this through, but I don’t have a good answer.

    Many feminists have railed against transgender people using facilities citing numerous stories of cross-dressers or crazy people dressed as female entering facilities for nefarious purposes. It may seem like it is good enough to say, “Well, those are isolated incidents and do not represent the truly dysphoric people who have to use facilities”. It just sounds hollow. There has to be a better policy to keep people like that out of the bathrooms because it hurts all transgender people to have any story like that come out.

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