My name is Tavi, and I am a transgendered woman.
At the R.O.S.S Dress for Less store, on 5/19/13 at around 6:30p, I was shopping for clothes for my job interview the following morning. I grabbed a skirt and went into the woman’s changing room, as it is my right in California to choose the changing room—or restroom—that corresponds with the gender I identify with. After getting some more clothes, I attempted to go in a second time, but I was stopped and told to go into the men’s changing room!
I was told that one of the customers complained and felt uncomfortable, which is strange, since I was presenting quite female, and all I did was walk in to one of the woman’s dressing stalls (looking at the floor mind you), lock the door behind me, and left after a few minutes of trying on a skirt. I also did not notice anyone else in the dressing rooms, except for a few voices from a faraway stall.
Even though I felt betrayed and discriminated against, I complied, and went into the men’s side. The walk was not just a walk of shame, but of Terror: many transgender woman are at risk for hate crimes, and if I was alone with a man in the dressing room, I honestly would have felt threatened. Thankfully, I was alone.
I felt horrendous, and disgusting, and it was painful. I decided that after I tried on this next batch of clothing, I would complain to the manager, thinking that I would get this action reversed. I did, and I even showed my letter of recommendation for HRT (hormone replacement therapy) from my therapist (which the letter states that I am seeing for “mental health treatment and supervision of Gender Identity Disorder; Diagnosis and treatment was conducted in accord with the standards of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health”) to the manager, but she didn’t really seem like she even understood what it meant to be transgender. I felt like she was silently judging me as a pervert.
After receiving no help from her, I gave up and I quickly grabbed the clothing—not half of what I expected to come purchase—and paid for them and left the store. My hands were shaking from fear and embarrassment for a good time after that.
Like I said, I was presenting female, and was not acting in a threatening manner. I stood my ground but was never rude. I decided not to go against the wishes of the store and manager (and go in the women’s dressing room a second time anyway) in fear of making a scene and being thrown out of the store-or worse. Plus… I really needed that skirt to be presentable at my job interview.
Please RT this for visibility. I have read online that ROSS has been attempting to update their transgender inclusion policies due to another similar incident. Well—it hasn’t happened yet.