2017 has been a year for progression and choice, so it seems no surprise that now some major high street retailers are getting rid of gender-specific changing rooms and making them all gender neutral.
Urban Outfitters has already made the change, yet Topshop was recently called out by trans performer, Travis Alabanza, who was told he couldn’t try on dresses in the women’s changing rooms and he should go to the Topman changing rooms.
After making this a public affair, Topshop told Alabanza that they already had a policy for gender neutral changing rooms in place – but it wasn’t as widely known.
As this became more widely known, strong reactions ensued – as you’d expect. A discussion on Mumsnet got nearly 600 responses within a day. Clearly people do not feel comfortable with this change, but others insist that as long as the changing room has doors rather than curtains then there is no problem.
Some restaurants have made a similar step by having gender neutral toilets, so customers don’t feel like they have to conform to any specific gender and they can’t be made to feel out of place.
— Alex Tait (@AT_Fresh_Dev) November 1, 2017
Even though there is an increased number of trans people, or gender neutral people, which has led to more widespread acceptance, it is not a completely welcome development as of yet. Regarding gender neutral toilets and changing rooms, which are very personal spaces, many feel that their own wishes are being quashed for the sake of the smaller percentage of gender neutral people. For instance there are many worried parents who are concerned about the safety of their young children trying on clothes around adults of the opposite gender.
What about my rights to have a women only changing room? Or are my needs not as important as someone gender neutral? #Topshop
— April (@_AprilSpencer) November 9, 2017
— Skye North (@SkyeN0rth) November 10, 2017
A lot of the angry discussion around gender neutral changes stem from ignorance as people don’t want to have to change their routines for the sake of a minority…hmm sound familiar?