Topshop has announced that its changing rooms are gender-neutral, following a complaint from a trans customer who claimed they were refused access to female fitting rooms.
Performance artist Travis Alabanza, who identifies as trans female and uses the pronoun "they," claims they were told to use the male changing rooms when they attempted to use the female changing cubicles to try on dresses.
Alabanza—who was shopping in a Topshop in Manchester, England—was allegedly told by staff to use the male changing rooms downstairs instead.
"Hey @Topshop just experienced transphobia in your Manchester store. Not letting me use the changing room I decide is shit, sort it out," Alabanza tweeted.
Topshop later contacted another customer and reiterated their policy that all changing rooms were available for everyone.
A spokesperson from the brand said in a statement: "All TOPSHOP TOPMAN customers are free to use any of the fitting rooms located within our stores." The announcement applies "to all Topshop’s wholly owned stores worldwide," a rep told BAZAAR.com.
It's not entirely clear whether this policy has been rolled out in response to Alabanza's and other complaints, or whether it was already in existence.
Alabanza recalled the incident in more detail to Buzzfeed recalling: "She [staff member] wasn't rude, but she wasn't sympathetic either. I said, 'I'm not going to be safe down there. What do you want me to do?' and they just kind of shrugged."
"I did think I could buy the dresses and take them home to try on, but I felt like, why am I doing this? My day instantly became politicized when all I wanted was a chill day shopping."
"It's just been a whole stretched-out thing when all I wanted was to go into Topshop and go out. I normally online shop for this reason."
Alabanza has since suggested that the fashion retailer should go beyond its gender-neutral fitting room policy and "train the staff about what it means to serve every kind of customer, how to advocate for us and respond against people who are phobic."