Thursday, September 29, 2016

Even With All The Laws It Doesn’t Stop This

California has some of the strongest gender inclusive non-discrimination laws you still get things like this.
Urban Outfitters misses the mark on gender nonbinary acceptance
By Nicholas Gorham
September 19, 2016

Recently, while attempting to try on some clothes at Urban Outfitters, I was told I couldn't use the women's dressing room. It was a moment of realization: Not everyone is as far along in breaking down the gender binary as I'd thought.
When we got to the dressing rooms, Tamara, a cis woman, was taken in and given a room before the attendant began leading me to a completely different area to change.

She could feel the awkwardness and offered: "Well the thing is there are young girls over there so I can't really ..."

"Uh, OK," I replied, "Well, I'm trans."

"I know," she said. "It's just that it's the policy."

There was a long pause — the tension undeniable. "I mean, I guess I can put you in here," she finally said, motioning to a spot on the other side of a number of rooms now separating Tamara and I.
That is illegal in California, but the law didn’t seem to have any effect of the clerk.
After tweeting about the incident (it's 2016, after all), Urban Outfitters contacted me to discuss. Following some minimal correspondence, I was sent this:
Thanks for following up with us, Nicholas, Urban Outfitters does not aim to discriminate against any of its customers or employees, and its stores operate in accordance with state and federal law. Although some retailers in the US are currently beginning to offer gender neural bathrooms are dressing rooms, there are no binding regulations at this time in the state of California to which stores must adhere when making this decision as regards their own retail space. Given this, we’ve shared your feedback with the store location in question, as well as the upper management overseeing the store, providing the information that was included in your direct message. I’m sorry if you feel this does not sufficiently address you concerns.
Well crickets
These experiences may seem small to someone looking at it from the other side, but they can have a profound effect on trans folk and gender-fluid people and should not be trivialized.
The corporation legal counsels seem to have a very narrow view of gender that seems to be in opposition to the state law and they are circling the wagons. Hopefully Gorham will follow this up with a complaint to the California human rights commission.

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