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Trans woman denied access to Primark changing room

Naith Payton May 12, 2015

Joni Bendall has spoken out about the abuse she faces in her home town of Ipswich.

Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times, she said she had been denied access to the women’s changing room at her local branch of Primark. She was told be a shop assistant to use the men’s changing room upstairs instead.

She said: “I paused to take a breath and said: ‘I’m not a man’. And the assistant turned around and kept folding clothes.

“This time I turned to the assistant and I said, ‘I know this is awkward for you but I would like to use the changing rooms like any other woman’, and they just ignored me.

“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.”

A friend wrote an open letter to Primark to complain about Ms Bendall’s treatment.

A Primark spokesman said it was store policy to allow trans people to use the changing rooms of their choice. He said: “Primark takes all customer complaints seriously and expects all its staff to provide considerate and respectful assistance to customers shopping and trying clothes on in store.”

Ms Bendall also spoke about the abuse she regularly faces, including experiences five separate incidents of abuse during one short walk.

She said: “We are viewed as being weird or different or overly-sexualised and it’s not like that.

“We are just ordinary boring people who want to shop like anyone else does.”

In 2013, a trans woman was told to shop at a New Look store “out of hours” after being prevented from using the changing room.

An American woman is suing a gym that banned her for complaining about a trans woman using the women’s facilities.

More: changing room, England, primark, shopping, Transgender, transphobia

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