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Transgender woman left feeling ‘like a freak’ after being told to use male changing room

Amy West June 6, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: A person holds an umbrella as they pass a branch of the Debenhams chain of department stores on Oxford Street on February 19, 2018 in London, England. Debenhams has announced that it is to cut 320 management jobs across the company in a bid to implement a £10m cost-saving plan. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A transgender woman was left shocked and in tears after she was refused entry to a women’s changing room in a Debenhams store in Glasgow.

Jay Campbell, who has been living as a woman for two years and taking hormones for four months, was told she would have to try on clothes in a men’s changing room instead by a member of staff.

“I was shopping for a dress for a friend’s wedding and picked a gorgeous green one,” the 25-year-old hair stylist from Carluke, Lanarkshire, explained to Scottish publication the Daily Record.

“I asked the assistant if the changing room was open and she said, ‘yes.’ When I went to use it, she stopped me and told me I had to use the gents on the first floor.

Campbell, 25, was refused entry to a womens’ changing rooms in a Debenhams store in Glasgow (Jay Francis Campbell/Facebook)

“I told her I was transgender and she still insisted I used the gents,” Campbell continued.

“I went down to the gents crying and in shock.

“When I got there, the two women were the complete opposite – they were kind and helpful. They asked what was wrong and I told them. They told me I should have been allowed to use the changing room up there.”

Campbell also stated that the two assistants revealed that they had been trained in how to deal with these types of scenarios, and were appalled that she had been turned away from the female facilities by a colleague.

In her initial post detailing what happened on Facebook, Campbell wrote: “I was so upset and sick of having to explain myself. I was about to spend a fair bit of money on the outfit but after being treated like a freak, I threw the dress at her. I won’t be shopping in Debenhams ever again!

“To add if I used the female changing room outside the Wallis section, I was going to be asked to leave if I used it!”

Following the incident in Debenhams, Campbell went to House of Fraser where the staff were ‘so nice and helpful’ (Leon Neal/Getty)

Campbell went on to explain that, following the incident, she went to House of Fraser to continue her search for the perfect wedding dress. There, “the staff were so nice and helpful” and she was “treated like a princess.”

In response to the claims that some of its employees are transphobic, a Debenhams spokesperson told the Daily Record: “We are sorry for any distress caused to the customer. Debenhams changing rooms are not gender specific.”

Debenhams also assured the tabloid newspaper that it was “currently investigating the incident.”

More: Debenhams, transgender women, transphobia

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