Skip

Bras for Trans Women: Controversy and Resources
July 17, 2014 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Award-winning Austin lingerie shop Petticoat Fair specializes in hard-to-fit bra sizes. Recently a trans woman was turned away from the shop and started social media protest and boycott campaign, swamping the store's Yelp page with negative reviews. The owner issued a controversial apology and plans to meet with the Transgender Education Network Of Texas to work out a better policy. The story started to percolate through national news and commentary and sites. Meanwhile, the original complainant has called off the official boycott and the store has promised to issue a new policy in the near future.

Above the fold post written by user immlass. Additional links:

So You're A Trans Woman Looking for a Bra: Advice on going in for a fitting, and links to many affordable options.

Reddit's A Bra That Fits Community's Guide for Trans women

TransGriot: A Transsistah's Secret - Bras A short guide to cup size, fit, and how to put it on.

A Critique of Chrysalis Lingerie, a line of lingerie created by and for trans women.

Trans 101.
posted by Juliet Banana (121 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am so glad this is getting wider attention. That original apology makes me shake with anger reading it. Boycott or no, I still don't feel OK with giving Petticoat Fair any more of my money. I'd rather shop locally, but for bras I'll go to Nordstrom instead.

(Also great to see two great folks collaborate on a FPP.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:58 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


Fitting a bra is taking off your shirt! Why would you ask someone anything about surgery to take off their shirt?

I know it's actually just transphobia, but the leaps in that initial incident and in the apology to the inevitable 'safety' bugbear are just baffling to me.
posted by winna at 10:05 AM on July 17


(Our fitter invited Kylie and companion into this part of our store so they could have this delicate conversation privately.) Just as a gym won’t allow men in a women’s dressing room (and vice versa) for the comfort and safety of its patrons, we don’t allow men or boys above a certain age in our dressing area. Despite our otherwise inclusive approach, those who might be or who outwardly appear to be men (regardless of how they are dressed) pose a delicate challenge, and in the case of imposters, can pose a safety risk to the Petticoat Fair staff.
If you don't pass, we need to take you to a different part of the store for safety's sake? What?
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:05 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


*Scratches off "Metafilter FPP about me" from bucket list. Throws confetti.*
posted by kyliej at 10:15 AM on July 17 [121 favorites]


Love you Kylie :-)
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:16 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Transfolk's money spends as good as anyone's. This is not only transphobic, it's a crime against capitalism.
posted by jonmc at 10:20 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


This story is a good example of a business owner coming together with their local trans community to learn how to be more supportive of marginalized/minority groups, even down to the initial missteps by the owner being offended and coming off with a defensive posture, then toning it down and realizing that there's more listening that needs to happen and a lot less posturing.

I was kind of nearby all this, so I really feel weird talking too much about it, but IMO everyone on all sides at this time, deserves gold stars for how this situation is turning out.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:21 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


I guess, it's important to focus on where this is heading, not the heated stuff in the middle.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:22 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Welp, my eye is twitching with outrage. I had been a whole 12 hours eye twitch free, but people continue to be assholes. SAFETY RISK?? I can't even begin. I have a hard time processing when a women's space is an unsafe place for trans women. Who are, after all, women for whom a women's space should be a safe place.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:23 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


The critique of Chrysalis Lingerie is somewhat unfair, at least the parts regarding pricing. $75 for a well-made bra (minus the insets) is well in the standard range; using VS as a price point is a bad idea (as I'm sure the denizens of a /r/ABraThatFits and many, many other guides to getting a quality, proper fitting bra will tell you). And you don't need 7 bras to get through a week- bras can go a few wearings between washings.

For all people with breasts: spend the money you would spend for 3 bras at VS and use it to buy one good one from your local lingerie store (that hopefully has trans-friendly policies), if you have one (Nordstrom also tends to have a good range). Your boobs will thank you.
posted by damayanti at 10:28 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I'm a cis woman who has an unusual bra size, and I agree that $75 isn't too much to spend on a bra. I typically spend about $65 on a bra if I pay full price, and I can't shop at Victoria's Secret and wouldn't even if I could. But if the inserts really are necessary, then it's $250, and that's way more than bras usually cost, even at specialty stores. I'm not going to pretend to understand the economics of the bra industry, but $250 for a bra does seem a little over the top. Maybe there's room for some competition?

I would be horrified if I found out I shopped at a store that wouldn't allow trans women in the dressing room. I'm glad that Petticoat Fair seems to be moving in a better direction. Does anyone know whether other specialty bra stores have policies on this?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:39 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I'm missing the OutrageTrigger in the owner's letter about why the store has to be careful about whom it allows in the dressing area. Unless it's completely disingenuous, I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

I'm glad this is working out for all concerned, but if I were in the owner's shoes, I'd think, best and most inclusive intentions notwithstanding, that some assholes could, in fact, try to game the policy and how can I prevent that for the benefit of all my customers?
posted by the sobsister at 10:42 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Not sure if this is okay for me to post here, but I want to share two other related links, because I think they contextualize my experience very well within how trans people feel during transition, why this is important, and dealing with "bathroom panic" issues. 1) How to sell a transgender woman a bra without being a jerk (not a great headline, but the article is great). and 2) Lessons from a bad bra fitting.
posted by kyliej at 10:44 AM on July 17 [17 favorites]


Because it's a typical TERF argument. It's a way of denying that trans women are WOMEN. It's not a phrase that's without history.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:45 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


The owner issued a controversial apology

The owner also issued a follow-up apology a few days later that's a lot less "Here's our reasons for what we did" and way more "We messed up, we apologize, we're listening to what you have to say".
posted by 23skidoo at 10:46 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Shopping for bras is already horrible and expensive and just did I say horrible? That much horrible. Please, shop-owners and workers, don't make it even fucking worse for those of us who just want to give you money for something that fits and is comfortable.

On preview:

I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

This is a rotted corpse of an ancient (and dumb!) argument. The solution is to ban people who behave inappropriately - staring, groping, being gross. The solution is *not* to assume that you know what a woman "looks" like because based just on my own, personal (cis gender female) experience, people are really shitty at that.
posted by rtha at 10:46 AM on July 17 [47 favorites]


the sobsister, I've never read any story of that happening, but I read a lot of stories about trans women being turned away for being trans. These kinds of policies seem to have way more false positives than actual positives, and so they're generally only allowed to remain in place because of institutional discrimination and the relative powerlessness of trans women.
posted by Corinth at 10:48 AM on July 17 [17 favorites]


I think, by far, the greatest and most destructive war in social justice circles has been between radfems and transwomen. It's torn apart an entire movement (feminism) and pitted potential allies against one another. It's extremely sad.
posted by Avenger at 10:50 AM on July 17


Unless it's completely disingenuous, I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

I will accept this argument the exact minute I see this happening ever. Any broheim who would try this is way too scared of his own sexual identity to walk into a lingerie shop and say, "I am totally a chick, so let me into the dressing room," without giggling, WOOing, or constantly looking over his shoulder and giving the thumbs-up to his fraternity brothers watching him do it.
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


Also, I don't know about this specific lingerie store, but all the ones I've ever been in have changing rooms and I've never seen anyone prancing around in frilly things outside of the rooms. There's nothing for the dudes to see except sad piles of crumpled rejected clothing.

It's just not a realistic concern.
posted by winna at 10:52 AM on July 17 [11 favorites]


I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

This is a classic transphobic argument, usually referred to as "trans bathroom panic." It hss also literally never happened outside of the Rodney Dangerfield vehicle Ladybugs.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:53 AM on July 17 [28 favorites]


Any broheim who would try this is way too scared of his own sexual identity to walk into a lingerie shop and say, "I am totally a chick, so let me into the dressing room," without giggling, WOOing, or constantly looking over his shoulder and giving the thumbs-up to his fraternity brothers watching him do it.

But what if it's not a "broheim?" What if it's a straight-up predator, not some fratboy doing it for shits and giggles.

Folks seem to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that it's never happened means it never will happen.
posted by kgasmart at 10:57 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Assuming for the moment that the Broseph problem is a real one (which I actually can believe, based on the shitty behavior I have seen from such assholes in the past), I wish they had said "as a lingerie shop, we actual-factual do have shitty cis het dudes trying to game our policies of inclusion in an attempt to be sexually violating towards our customers, and that's something we obviously won't tolerate. It's also a completely different and separate situation than a trans woman coming in to buy underwear, and alas, there are no bright-line policies we've been able to come up with that disambiguate between the two with 100% accuracy. We blew it this time, and would welcome input from the community about how we can be better at this LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE."

I am willing to believe that they set off all those TERF-dogwhistle mines accidentally (particularly considering the second apology), but boy, they really did set them all off, and I do not blame anyone else one bit for responding to the dogwhistle.
posted by KathrynT at 10:58 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Honestly, I don't even understand what terrible thing would happen if a dude did get into the dressing room. I've been to a lot of high-end bra stores, and they all have stalls in their dressing rooms. A guy trying on a bra in another stall from me is not going to diminish my shopping experience at all. It doesn't seem like an effective way to leer at women. I don't even understand how this threat is supposed to work, tbh.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:58 AM on July 17 [13 favorites]


I disagree. I don't think the answer is to let any random dude in back and only after he's upset your customers and hurt your business do you show him the door. I don't know what the ideal careful/inclusive policy or procedure is, but to fault the owner for trying to explain store policies rather than beg for mercy or flagellate themselves for stupidity seems a rush to judgment.
posted by the sobsister at 11:00 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


What if it's a straight-up predator, not some fratboy doing it for shits and giggles.

If it's a straight-up predator who gets their kicks out of dressing up like a lady to infiltrate a women's dressing room, then policies against trans women will not keep the predator out. He will just do a better job at passing. It's grossly self-evident.
posted by muddgirl at 11:00 AM on July 17 [22 favorites]


the sobsister: "I don't know what the ideal careful/inclusive policy or procedure is"

The ideal policy is clearly one that prioritises the safety and comfort of all women, including trans women, over a hypothetical.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:02 AM on July 17 [40 favorites]


Folks seem to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that it's never happened means it never will happen.

Once it actually happens, then we can start dealing with it. Until then, I'm going to count it in the same pile as "but we need to be prepared for purple people eaters invading via comet!"
posted by stoneweaver at 11:02 AM on July 17 [13 favorites]


"but we need to be prepared for purple people eaters invading via comet!"

You jest but this is a far more likely threat.

The purple people eaters are known to adore itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis.
posted by winna at 11:05 AM on July 17 [25 favorites]


How it works -- and again, this is based on behavior I've seen from shitty guys in similar but non-identical situations (women-friendly fetishwear shop) -- is that the guys are just THERE, being shitty, holding things up and saying in loud shitty voices "What do you think? Do you think this will make my boobs look sexy and fuckable?" and other terrible things like that. Obviously you can throw them out once they start acting shitty, but it can really taint the experience for legitimate customers just to be there when they start. This in no way shape or form takes the onus off the store for their responsibility to be ethical and kind towards trans women, many of whom will be more vulnerable to that kind of crappy disruption than cis women. But I have been in a shop where this kind of thing happened and it was legitimately terrible.
posted by KathrynT at 11:05 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Folks seem to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that it's never happened means it never will happen.

Well but if you're deciding whether to exclude transwomen from your dressingroom or bathroom, weighing the harm to transwomen vs the harm of letting in a disguised predator, surely the fact that the latter doesn't seem to have ever happened is relevant?

I mean, Black Swans are a thing, but they are in fact much fewer in number than white swans.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 11:06 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I don't think the answer is to let any random dude in back and only after he's upset your customers and hurt your business do you show him the door.

This is what they do for apparently-cis-women who want to try on bras. They don't do some kind of "is she a sexual predator?" check before I go into a bra fitting room.
posted by muddgirl at 11:06 AM on July 17 [37 favorites]


I go with my wife when she bra shops and I often go into the changing room with her and nobody has ever said anything to me. As far as I can tell the only person who feels awkwardness about it is me.
posted by srboisvert at 11:07 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


muddgirl: "This is what they do for apparently-cis-women who want to try on bras. They don't do some kind of "is she a sexual predator?" check before I go into a bra fitting room."

This comment is perfect and I just wanted to see it again.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:09 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


People who are going to continue to flog the dead horse of bathroom panic: can you please at least just read the article I posted where 15 different law enforcement officers and experts in sexual violence tell you that you're insisting on is wrong, specious, baseless, and has no grounding in fact?

Also, please note that discriminating against trans women in this way is increasingly illegal in more and more states.

There are many ways that everyday people can work to make sexual violence less of a problem in their communities. Persecuting trans women is not one of them. The fact that you are voicing this debunked myth in front of the very people it hurts seems incredibly disrespectful.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:10 AM on July 17 [40 favorites]


the harm of letting in a disguised predator

I will say, the guys I saw do this weren't disguised in any way. They were straight up sports-bar jackasses in cargo shorts and t-shirts.
posted by KathrynT at 11:12 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


The critique of Chrysalis Lingerie is somewhat unfair, at least the parts regarding pricing. $75 for a well-made bra (minus the insets) is well in the standard range; using VS as a price point is a bad idea (as I'm sure the denizens of a /r/ABraThatFits and many, many other guides to getting a quality, proper fitting bra will tell you). And you don't need 7 bras to get through a week- bras can go a few wearings between washings.

I get that from your point of view it probably made the author of that piece sound naive when she griped about the price. But that gripe was a small part of the critique. And even those of us who would be thrilled to spend $75 on a well-made bra were pissed off when we saw what Chrysalis was really selling. After a lot of hype about "FINALLY someone is making bras for the trans community," it turned out that they weren't really offering anything new and useful, but just looking to cash in.

The trouble is that Chrysalis is offering the worst of both worlds. They charge what you'd expect to spend on a really good bra from a company offering a wide range of fits and sizes — but then all they offer are the "standard" VS/department store sizes, which do not fit well on nearly anyone, cis or trans.

In fact, as far as anyone can tell, there is nothing about their bras (apart from the ad campaign) that makes them suitable for trans women. They aren't offering the larger band sizes and smaller cup sizes that a lot of trans women need. They aren't making bras that suit shallower and wider-set breasts, which a lot of us have.* They're just offering the sort of thing you'd get at VS, with a lot of targeted advertising, bundled with a breast form you could just as easily buy elsewhere, at an obnoxious markup.

*For instance, I'm a 34B — one of the few real live actual 34Bs in the world! with an actual 34" underbust! — but department store 34B bras still do not fit me, because my sternum is wider than an average cis woman's would be. Companies that make better bras (including some which are specifically geared towards women with wide-set breasts) consistently don't make them in my size: they don't offer cup sizes as low as B, or they don't offer band sizes as high as 34, or both. So I'd happily shell out for bras from Chrysalis if they were made with typical trans womens' anatomy in mind. But according to all the reviews I've read, they aren't, so fuck em.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:15 AM on July 17 [16 favorites]


KathrynT - your anecdotes seem very off topic. Stores can reserve the right to refuse service to people who are disrupting other customers. That is not what this post is about.
posted by muddgirl at 11:17 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Fair enough, and I unreservedly apologize.
posted by KathrynT at 11:18 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

People need to be real thoughtful about this line of reasoning.

First, because I (generally read as a butch woman) could be perfectly capable of being gross and inappropriate. Women can sexually harass other women, either from an "I am a queer woman perving on you" standpoint or from a "I am a straight woman and I am going to say inappropriate and offensive things about your body and/or stare at you grossly" standpoint. I mean, if perceived gender is the only thing in play, we're saying that women never do any of that shit - which anyone who has ever been in a girls' locker room can testify is not true.

Second, of course - I (someone generally read as a butch woman, also a total "eyes-front"-style prude who would gnaw off a forearm before even noticing another person in a state of undress unless they had already made it very verbally clear that they wanted me to notice) definitely make some straight women uncomfortable just by my very presence. Visibly queer women/women-appearing-people are still occasionally challenged in locker rooms and so on, and much more often just treated kind of weird-like.

Basically, I want the "should be kicked out" bar to be both clearly defined and not based on other people's read of my gender or sexuality. There's way too much opportunity for bullshit otherwise.
posted by Frowner at 11:22 AM on July 17 [34 favorites]


The vehement response by some to my and other suggestions that there could be abuse of an unquestioning admission of anyone to the dressing rooms seems to ignore the views and fears of, you know, other, cis patrons of the establishment, particularly older ones, who might not be used to, or comfortable with, the presence of men-seeming people in the dressing room. This is not to say that trans patrons shouldn't be fully accommodated and equally served. It's that, were I the owner, I would be thinking of how to keep my business afloat as a primary consideration, and that means that all of my customers have to find themselves in a safe, enjoyable environment. Again, not an easy path to navigate, but jumping on the owner's shit for trying to explain why a decision is made smacks a bit too much of mob justice.
posted by the sobsister at 11:23 AM on July 17


That's really interesting, nebulawindphone. I honestly don't understand why it seems to be so hard for the underwear industry to create bras that fit the full range of women's bodies. Maybe someday I'll quit my job and start a fully-inclusive bra line for everyone who is not actually Chrissy Teigen.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:27 AM on July 17


I am a guy and I just wanted to say to those who claim men will stalk women's changing rooms as some sort of predatory act: are you serious? If a guy wants to act like a dick to women there are far better and easier places to do so. The changing areas in women's shops are full of women, often mother and daughter. As a man, you do not want to start a fight here - you are in the minority and the women won't take kindly to their space and privacy being invaded and you will feel their wrath and scorn. Why bother? Why go through the hassle and take all the women's ire? Seriously, explain why men would do this? I have never heard of this happening. It is like approaching a girl you like who is on a hen night - all the other girls will make comment and make you feel small - so guys stay away.
posted by marienbad at 11:27 AM on July 17


The vehement response by some to my and other suggestions that there could be abuse of an unquestioning admission of anyone to the dressing rooms seems to ignore the views and fears of, you know, other, cis patrons of the establishment, particularly older ones, who might not be used to, or comfortable with, the presence of men-seeming people in the dressing room.
I'm pretty sure I have some elderly family members who at one point wouldn't have been comfortable with the presence of black people in their dressing room, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and not be a bigot.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:28 AM on July 17 [50 favorites]


It's that, were I the owner, I would be thinking of how to keep my business afloat as a primary consideration, and that means that all of my customers have to find themselves in a safe, enjoyable environment. Again, not an easy path to navigate, but jumping on the owner's shit for trying to explain why a decision is made smacks a bit too much of mob justice.
I'm sorry — you think that leaving a negative review on Facebook is some form of mob justice? You think that saying "this guy made a bad decision" is mob justice?
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:36 AM on July 17 [10 favorites]


I don't think the answer is to let any random dude in back and only after he's upset your customers

So the whole "bathroom panic" issue is one that I too used to have a tough time negotiating in my head, but here's where I started to break down my own issues: transwomen aren't dudes. They are women, and just like cis women they often need bras.

We have been raised to think "possibility of a penis = dude" (although what is in someone's pants is none of our business, obviously, but this is just what society tells us) and that's not the right way to approach this issue as a cis person. I think, anyway.
posted by jess at 11:36 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


The vehement response by some to my and other suggestions that there could be abuse of an unquestioning admission of anyone to the dressing rooms seems to ignore the views and fears of, you know, other, cis patrons of the establishment, particularly older ones, who might not be used to, or comfortable with, the presence of men-seeming people in the dressing room.

I am a man-seeming* cisgender woman and those patrons can get the fuck over it.

I'm not sorry for the vehemence. You seem to think you've stumbled on some new line of thinking here that can't have occurred to anyone else - certainly not those of us who don't "look" like women! - and you haven't.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on July 17 [36 favorites]


who might not be used to, or comfortable with, the presence of men-seeming people in the dressing room

One more thing related to this: honestly I wouldn't blink if a transwoman asked for a trans-only changing room just based on how truly horrible cis people have been now and through history. They are not the scary aggressors here -- we are.
posted by jess at 11:42 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


Well, here's the problem: You could be uncomfortable with male-seeming people in the dressing room, and yet not be a bigot. Many women and men are not comfortable when they're undressed to begin with, due to modesty, body issues, etc. Again, as a business owner, I have to balance serving all my customers equally well with ensuring all my customers are equally comfortable in my space. We're not talking about a golf shoe store. The policies have to be written to accommodate all people today, not in an idealized future. This is not to condone bigotry, but to accept that not everyone is perfectly enlightened. Again: It's a business that has customers of all kinds.

So, "fuck 'em" might feel good to say or write, but you're not running that lingerie store.

And to those who responded, "mob justice" on this page. Or "drumhead court." Whichever you prefer.
posted by the sobsister at 11:47 AM on July 17


I forgot my asterisk, there, hanging out all alone!

It was going to go something like this:

* For certain definitions of "man-seeming", all of which seem to boil down to an idiosyncratic "doesn't conform to a kind to femininity to which I am most accustomed." That idiosyncratic definition gets me yelled at in public women's rooms. I have a butcher-looking friend who will not go into a women's room at all anymore unless her girlfriend goes with her, because she's been harassed so badly. So, you know, fuck "man-seeming."

On preview:

How not-man-seeming must I be before I am allowed to go somewhere? Please be specific.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


One more thing related to this: honestly I wouldn't blink if a transwoman asked for a trans-only changing room just based on how truly horrible cis people have been now and through history.

Yeah, it's tricky, because sometimes segregated accommodations are pitched as being "available for your safety and comfort," and then it's not 100% clear whether they're just "available" or whether they're actually really mandatory.

Like, I'm planning a trip right now to a town with a pretty well-respected bra store, and I checked on their webpage, and they were like FOR YOUR COMFORT, private fittings for members of the trans community are available on Wednesdays. So does this mean that I'm welcome on a Tuesday afternoon if I don't mind sharing the store with cis people? Or does it mean that if I show up on a Tuesday I'll get hurried out the door and quietly told to sneak back in through the back entrance on Wednesday night? I'm not fond of public confrontation, so I'll probably be good and just show up on Wednesday like I'm supposed to...

But yeah, trans-only spaces that are voluntary and not coerced can be really fucking wonderful.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:51 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

This is like the last thing I'd be worried about. Like, I honestly don't think there are all that many dudes who would pretend to be women and go through a bra-fitting just to get a peek at women in a dressing room.

You could be uncomfortable with male-seeming people in the dressing room

What about cis women who are mistaken for men? Does my tall friend with PCOS need to get laser treatments before being allowed in for a fitting?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:54 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


No idea how to set the bar for "male-seeming" in this context. It's an unenviable position for a small- (or even large-) business owner to be in. But the bottom line is that, while this is a huge issue on this page, in the mainstream of American commerce, it's insignificant. And policies will most likely continue to be written to accommodate the vast majority of patrons who break more cleanly along gender-typical appearances. It's an unfortunate fact, but it's not one that will change in the short term, so punitive measures against a business, any business that's trying to find its way regarding this complex issue is, in my view, unfair.
posted by the sobsister at 11:56 AM on July 17


You could be uncomfortable with male-seeming people in the dressing room, and yet not be a bigot.

It's totally possible. You know how you do it? By shutting up about your own discomfort and recognizing that if the worst thing that happens to you today is that an insufficiently feminine person was in an adjacent stall in a dressing room, then you are experiencing one-billionth the angst over gender presentation in society that the trans woman you're uncomfortable about has likely felt for most of her life.

Bigotry isn't what you think, it's what you do. Be uncomfortable all you want, just shut up about it and deal.
posted by Etrigan at 11:57 AM on July 17 [23 favorites]


so punitive measures against a business, any business that's trying to find its way regarding this complex issue is, in my view, unfair.
Huh? The business in question has already announced that they intend to change their policy, without any actual punitive measures being taken against them. So what are you complaining about?

I mean, there were threats of a boycott going around for maybe a week before the owner put out a real acceptable apology and the whole thing was called off. It turns out most women don't actually go bra-shopping once a week, so there's no reason to believe they lost any business over that.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:58 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


It seems weird to rush to defend the practices of a store as simply business, and good business at that, when it's a store that just lost a ton of money and their good reputation.

And policies will most likely continue to be written to accommodate the vast majority of patrons who break more cleanly along gender-typical appearances.

Yeah, in a lot of cases policies like that are going to be illegal because they unfairly discriminate agast the many, many, manymanymany of us who don't have gender-typical appearances.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:00 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


[Let's move on from the "you don't tolerate my intolerance!" argument, shall we?]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:05 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


I go with my wife when she bra shops and I often go into the changing room with her and nobody has ever said anything to me. As far as I can tell the only person who feels awkwardness about it is me.

This has been precisely my experience in more than two decades of going to these places with girlfriends and now my partner. I've never been anything except welcomed in the shops, in the general changing area, and in the changing cubicle itself when she wants me in there for help with straps or whatever. The only discomfort I've seen is my own and that of other male partners standing there awkwardly (because only Nordstrom puts chairs there for you to sit on while you wait, pretty much everywhere else you stand next to the return rack trying to be out of the way).

I'm sure creepers do try to get in, but to think you need to ban trans people as a result is ridiculous and functions only as hostility to trans people rather than as a barrier to creepers.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:11 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I now sorta regret giving them quite a bit of money in the early 00s for proper undergarments for my wife.

I do remember that they have a comfy couch and magazines in a place near the door for someone to wait while their partner/friend/etc is being fitted. It's not a big shop at all, space-wise.
posted by mrbill at 12:14 PM on July 17


The vehement response by some to my and other suggestions that there could be abuse of an unquestioning admission of anyone to the dressing rooms seems to ignore the views and fears of, you know, other, cis patrons of the establishment, particularly older ones, who might not be used to, or comfortable with, the presence of men-seeming people in the dressing room.

Someone's perceived level of discomfort should not allow them to demand discriminatory policies be put in place that prevent them from ever having to feel uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable watching people eat iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing on it, but that doesn't mean I get to demand that the local Sizzler ban people who like that particular salad. It means I have to suck it up and deal with my own discomfort, not make it someone else's problem. That's called being an adult. Maybe these hypothetical elderly cis women you're talking about could try being adults?
posted by palomar at 12:15 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


And yes, I'm saying that having trans women in a bra shop dressing room is exactly as dangerous as Thousand Island dressing, which is to say, not dangerous at all. And we all know it. So let's stop being dicks.
posted by palomar at 12:16 PM on July 17 [18 favorites]


Hey don't compare me to Thousand Island I identify as Green Goddess STOP ERASING ME!
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:19 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


thanks, nebulawindphone, now i want a delicious salad with Green Goddess dressing and I DON'T HAVE ONE. i weep! i gnash my teeth! i... eat this terrible sandwich. sigh.
posted by palomar at 12:21 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Ok, i realize this isn't a perfect analogy, but i think the "cis men dressing up like women and going to "try on bras" to ogle women" thing is incredibly fucking stupid and a total farce.

But lets break it down with an example.

Driving would be inarguably safer if everyone wore fire suits, FIA approved helmets, 5 point harnesses, and all cars were required to be equipped with full race cages, fuel cells, and fire systems.

But we don't, because nearly every item on that list has a measurable downside to comfort, efficiency, or something else that people were willing to accept the tradeoff for. The people arguing to defend this are essentially saying "but that guy who got in a 120mph accident could have been saved! the technology is right there!"

And there's an added element to this. To take the analogy further, if we were to require that or even heavily suggest its adoption, it would completely fuck over disabled people who would have an extremely hard time getting in and out of their vehicles, and donning all that safety gear. Just to prevent some very rare edge cases.

Basically, you're ignoring the cries of pain of a large group of people because of the threat of a possibly existent, but extremely rare Big Bad Wolf. This is like forcing everyone to fly naked for national security.

God, the entire argument just makes me angry. In a properly designed changing room area there would be no way for this hypothetical guy to creep. And in a store like this, you always have an employee handy right outside the entrance to check whose bringing in what merchandise, and assist with questions of fit/etc.

This is the most eye-rolly pissed i've been at a discussion on this site in a while. The fact that this boogie man is even being taken seriously is really shitty in my mind.

Anyone who would be willing to put in that much effort would just plant hidden cameras. And that IS a thing that happens, which in fact a thing that happens all the damn time, including near me very very recently. Maybe we should be talking about putting signal jammers in dressing rooms instead of kicking out trans women or people who don't present the way you expect them to? Because i would seriously support a campaign to change FCC regulations so that jammers with a small effective range were legal in certain situations like dressing rooms, locker rooms, spas, etc. Maybe we can also talk about IR flooding to jam cameras.

I digress though, i'm not actually trying to have that discussion in this thread, because it's a stupid derail. I was just very adamant about pointing out this is a total fake ass argument.
posted by emptythought at 12:22 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


palomar: "Someone's perceived level of discomfort should not allow them to demand discriminatory policies be put in place that prevent them from ever having to feel uncomfortable."

Someone on tumblr recently said that no-one has the right to feel safe, but everyone has the right to be safe. Catering to someone's irrational prejudices because they don't feel safe around a particular minority will reduce safety for members of that minority and increase safety for nobody.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:22 PM on July 17 [37 favorites]


As someone who was looking at the city's non-discrimination laws and complaint procedures literally minutes after Kylie reported this (like I said I was near this), I can assure what the store employee did violated local city gender protection ordinances, and that the owner realized it, changed their tune and the community has come together on this with the owner to resolve the situation in a way that IMO has the possibility to be an example moving forward.

Calling it mob justice is offensive, and totally out of line. I live here where this happened, I am an out trans woman and these literally are my daily struggles you are pontificating on, so please be mindful of your knee-jerk descriptions of what happened. I was there in real time. You were not. I'll be glad to give finer nuance.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:22 PM on July 17 [36 favorites]


Wow, first MeFi post about someone I know personally! Cool!

Kylie, you rock, and you handled this whole thing from start to finish with the kind of grace, dignity and strength I have long wished I had.

Props also to Mr. Andrews for being strong enough to recover from that initial eff up.

Keep on rock in', Kylie! :-)
posted by lord_wolf at 12:22 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Hey, you know what it's called when you refuse service to a whole class of people based on a few bad actors? Discrimination and prejudice. Let's say the store has had issues in the past. That does not automatically make it okay to discriminate against me based on how I look. It's not morally, ethically, or (in Austin) legally defensible.
posted by kyliej at 12:23 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


But the bottom line is that, while this is a huge issue on this page, in the mainstream of American commerce, it's insignificant. And policies will most likely continue to be written to accommodate the vast majority of patrons who break more cleanly along gender-typical appearances. It's an unfortunate fact, but it's not one that will change in the short term, so punitive measures against a business, any business that's trying to find its way regarding this complex issue is, in my view, unfair.

Businesses have a right to set their policies within the law. They don't have a right to my approval of their shitty policies. It's their business, and the fact that their discrimination makes people angry is their problem, not mine. You don't get to plead "cold hard reality" on one side and "it's not fair" on the other. We don't owe anyone any favours just because they happen to own a business.
posted by howfar at 12:25 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Oh and one more point of clarification, i think it's actually AWESOME of this shop to have a separate, private changing area for people who aren't comfortable in the multi-stall/booth big public one... but i think it's fucked up to push anyone towards that one, or to ask people based on apperance.

I think they should have a big sign next to the main changing area that says something like "Want more privacy? We have a separate single-person changing area for anyone who prefers it, ask an fitting specialist if you'd like to use that".

Them having it is great, it's just that they aren't using it in a super great way. I know there's plenty of people, cis or trans, who would prefer more privacy. And this is coming from a guy who fucking hates urinals and always wishes places had single occupancy bathrooms. Any time more privacy is on offer for those who want or need it, a business is doing it right.

Capitalism at work, for those who buy into it up thread, is accommodating the maximum number of customers without spending too much capital. A lot of places stop short of this, and we should applaud them for a relatively small amount of outlay that is already a sunk cost for them that they could be using to make people a lot more comfortable.

The trick is just getting them to use it right.
posted by emptythought at 12:26 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


A note about the private area they have at the store: this is often not available because it is required for HIPPA compliance when dealing with cancer patients who have masectomies. So while it might be a good idea for a private area for any person who would like more privacy, the one they already have is not an option.
posted by kyliej at 12:29 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Businesses have a right to set their policies within the law.

And the lol thing here(in a dark way, at least), is that as Annika said above, they were violating the law.

It's not just that we don't approve of it. It's factually illegal where the business is located.
posted by emptythought at 12:29 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Folks seem to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that it's never happened means it never will happen.

Or that it happens and is not caught?
posted by notreally at 12:40 PM on July 17


Or we could talking about how it's cool the business is listening to women and learning how to better serve them as opposed to allowing themselves to be served by their own biased and unfounded fears of people who look different.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:47 PM on July 17 [21 favorites]


"male-seeming people"

This phrase tells you everything you need to know.

How are people even going to be seen in a state of undress when the changing areas are enclosed? The whole argument is fallacious.
posted by marienbad at 12:55 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


notreally: "Or that it happens and is not caught?"

Not just hypotheticals but secret hypotheticals!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:59 PM on July 17 [35 favorites]


Not just hypotheticals but secret hypotheticals!

Made of "Male-Seeming" strawmen!
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:10 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


Or that it happens and is not caught?
And how is a rule going to change that? Genetic testing to go bra shopping? What is it you're even arguing?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:10 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I am running out of favourites, people!
posted by marienbad at 1:21 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I saw this in the Jezebel thread linked and loved it:
I think they must have a lot of guys going on hormone therapy and growing breasts so they can harass women in specialty lingerie shop dressing rooms. It's what's known as "the long con". It's not like they can just go anywhere at any time to harass women. For those guys it's convenient because they also need to buy bras. It's a time saver.
posted by Ambient Echo at 1:32 PM on July 17 [48 favorites]


OMG Ambient Echo, that's a good find. I am literally lol'ing.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:36 PM on July 17


Even the possibility of shitty dudes sneaking into the women's dressing room is not a good reason to treat trans folk awfully. Why is that so hard
posted by shakespeherian at 2:27 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


There are cismen who just want to wear women's bras and underwear, and are not at all concerned with checking out women in the dressing room by... whatever act of contortion would make that possible in a dressing room with conventional booths. Has the policy for them been that they can't try on anything, even if their interest in making a purchase is sincere?
posted by Selena777 at 2:41 PM on July 17


It seems like "oh, there might be a man in the dressing room, we must avoid even the appearance of gender ambiguity" really does stem not just from not-thinking-of-trans-women-as-women but from not thinking of them as people. "We need to kick you out of [useful place] because someone might confuse you with a wrongdoer or else people might get anxious because they might worry that you could be a wrongdoer even if you showed no other signs of wrongdoing" is not something that we say about people we count as full fellow humans.
posted by Frowner at 2:43 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


I would rather not have to deal with the presence of paranoid transphobes in the dressing room when I'm shopping, personally. The actual danger presented by them is far greater than the imagined danger of a hypothetical creeping man.
posted by elizardbits at 3:08 PM on July 17 [25 favorites]


Wow, I've been out all afternoon and came back to this. I didn't know that kyliej was Metafilter's own (come to the meetup this weekend, Austin folks!) when I started rounding up the links for this post a couple of weeks ago. Thanks so much to Juliet Banana for rounding it out and posting it with solid links about trans lingerie and the trans 101 link.
posted by immlass at 3:33 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Yeah, for some reason like half the trans people on metafilter live in Austin.

And by "half" I mean "Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I think there's four or five of us."
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:43 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Kylie, you are badass.


Bra-shopping is the worst type of shopping. They don't need to make it worse still.
posted by RainyJay at 4:27 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Even the possibility of shitty dudes sneaking into the women's dressing room is not a good reason to treat trans folk awfully. Why is that so hard

Because it's like one of those 1800s sideshow "crash the two trains into each other head on" of the "womens perception of safety is paramount!" radfems with the "we cant treat trans people like shit just so that some other people who are uncomfortable with it in ways that they can't seem to articulate without sounding like transphobic assholes can feel better" feminists and generally decent folk.

It's like godzilla vs mechagodzilla of the 2010s feminist movement, especially online, and it's been going on for a few years now.
posted by emptythought at 4:28 PM on July 17


Seems a bit strange to portray them as equally-matched monsters, though. It's still safer to be a TERF in mainstream feminism and feminist spaces than it is a trans woman.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:31 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Well, godzilla and mechagodzilla weren't evenly matched... i was just saying it's a large persistent battle that keep popping up all over the place, not implying that both sides were on equal footing.

because i mean, godzilla always comes back, never really defeated.
posted by emptythought at 4:36 PM on July 17


angry internet fights as giant monsters stomping their way through the city seems pretty apt
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:44 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


It's what's known as "the long con".

"Bosom Buddies? More like Bosom Baddies, tonight on a Channel 12 special report."
posted by fleacircus at 4:48 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


So I'm sure someone has done this already but lately I catch myself referring to Mefi as Mefatitler.
posted by Corinth at 4:50 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


As far as the "what if a predatory guy is just pretending?!" panic thing goes, can I say that I have never, in all my 48 years, experienced a man trying to sneak into a ladies dressing room?

I was painfully shy as a girl, and, for that matter, as a young woman, and would have been mortified if I thought some creeper was following me into a dressing room--but thankfully it doesn't happen. It's a non-issue.

Now, if a ladies' dressing room has a full-length door (which, by the way, is an extremely simple solution shops could use to appease anyone legitimately concerned for her modesty or safety), you might see an amorous couple sneaking into a ladies' dressing room together. But I think I've only experienced even that once? And it was more funny than threatening.

Anyway, I am far more bothered by the Moms who bring their little boys back with them and then let them run around and occasionally try to peek under the stalls (and I am a Mom who once had little boys!). Thankfully, there is nothing less discreet than a small child trying to get away with something they know they shouldn't be doing. You hear lots of snorts and giggles and loud whispering; might as well be cats with bells round their necks.

But still, it's annoying, and of course you want to say to the Mother, "Why the hell aren't you watching your kids?!" But you also know that the Mom has to be truly desperate in the first place if she is seriously attempting to try anything on in a dressing room with very bored, very rambunctious children in tow, and she's likely not so much a terrible parent as, you know, an exhausted one who has run out of options.

Back to the subject: the original store employee (asking for ID!) sounds obnoxious and the store's policies seem silly at best, but I really don't think the original apology was that terribly bad? Just clueless.

Kudos, kyliej, for handling this with grace throughout the whole debacle, though.
posted by misha at 5:25 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


tfw only one laughing at own pun 1h later
posted by fleacircus at 5:59 PM on July 17


There are differences between *feminine* spaces and *women's* spaces. Places to buy feminine undergarments are using arguments about the 2nd to support the 1st. I've had bearable experiences at locations supporting #1 - Nordstrom's, some shops in the NYC garment district - and had police/security called on me at locations specializing in (ahem) #2. The worst offender, even though I loathe dissing a women-owned small business, is Title 9 Sports brick-&-mortar retail. For anyone who doesn't know, Title 9 sells only women's athletic attire, and is named after the section that ensures comparable funding for women's opportunities in the US Civil Rights Act.

What transwomen are being forced to endure is completely unacceptable, and as Frowner points out, genderqueers and transmen have some of the same problems. I also need a specialized bra size (small ribcage with heavy pec, lat and trap muscling, biggish boobs) and in addition, my gender presentation has me preferring the most minimizing of minimizers that allow me to breathe/move. While I have binders for special occasions, in daily practice and for bouncy activities I wear heavy-duty athletic bras. While I act and dress in a masculine way, I'm 5'2" and have no facial or body hair out of the ordinary range for female-presenting people.

Title 9, like a lot of women's athletics-related organizations, constantly deals with the idea of sport as being unfeminine, of serious athletes being dykes or somehow men in disguise. It so happens I am a sportsperson who is a dyke who is sort of a man. A man who needs athletic bras.

For many years I was a faithful mail-order customer of Title 9 Sports Frog Bra. When that bra's fabric went out of production, I ventured into Seattle's Title 9 shop, knowing I'd have to try on many bras to find a fit. I looked around, selected some possibilities from their racks, went to the changing cubicle. I suppose all they could see under the curtain was that I was wearing leather sport motorcycle pants and boots. I was just at that really fun moment of struggling with one tit in and one tit out, bra over my head, when there was a knock on the wall next to the cubicle curtain.
"Excuse me sir, you need to leave".
"I'm not a 'sir' AND I'm having problems getting into this bra, give me a moment." "Sir, you cannot try on women's underwear".
"I'm a *woman* who needs a bra that fits! AND besides, why can't anyone who needs a bra try them on?"
"Sir, you need to leave right now"
The employee, who is next to a (female) Seattle police officer plus some customers, yanks open the cubicle curtain. Great, the moment every body-dysmorphic transperson just loves - a small crowd of pissed and judgemental women, one with a gun and a taser, staring at me while I'm half-dressed.
"Can you see why I need a bra?!" (Umm, size D's, OK?)
"Get dressed and leave"
"Why?"
"You're disturbing the staff and customers"
"But..."
"Leave or you're under arrest"
I didn't have much to say after that. Such as what the charge would be - trying on underwear while biker? Being visibly gay in the ladies athletic shop? I should have contacted corporate HQ, but I just wanted to forget about the whole thing. And I haven't ordered anything from Title 9 since. I make do with Champion bras from Costco.
posted by Dreidl at 7:08 PM on July 17 [20 favorites]


What the??!! I just recently dropped a lot of money on bras from them - mail order, because I hate brick and mortar shopping - and what??!! Fuck that bullshit.
posted by rtha at 7:24 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Jesus, Dreidl, when was this? Recently enough that it still might be worth it to write a letter? That's fucking appalling!!
posted by KathrynT at 7:29 PM on July 17


It happened in 2005, the first year the Seattle store opened. Again, I'm usually all activist and confrontational about such things, but this played into so many issues for me I just said screw it, and made do elsewhere.

Besides, they still don't make Frog Bras.
posted by Dreidl at 8:37 PM on July 17


Also, do not want to derail transwomen's convo with "but what about the transmenz?".
posted by Dreidl at 8:41 PM on July 17


Ugh, how terrible.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:42 PM on July 17


(That experience, I mean, not your followup comments.)
posted by ocherdraco at 8:43 PM on July 17


As has been said many times in this and other oppression-related threads, this is *just a single example* of everyday microaggressions. From a lesbian-founded company, though that probably had no effect on the Seattle store's staffing or training on when to contact law enforcement.
posted by Dreidl at 8:48 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'll be all me me me here for a sec, but I'm a butch woman who from the knees down AT LEAST could easily be thought to be male and if anyone pulled that shit on me in a fitting room I would lose my fucking mind. Fuck. They better have trained their retail staff better than that at this point.
posted by rtha at 9:16 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Feels very strange to favourite Dreidl's shopping horror story comment.
posted by marienbad at 1:26 AM on July 18


Oh my god, Dreidl, that's horrifying. The ONLY reason I know about Title 9 at all is because of all the trans guys/AFAB genderqueers I knew buying the Frog Bra back in the early 2000s. God, I miss the Frog Bra, but that sounds like a nightmare.
posted by libraritarian at 7:42 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I go with my wife when she bra shops and I often go into the changing room with her and nobody has ever said anything to me.

Yeah, I've been women's changing rooms with friends and partners hundreds of times, including lingerie shops, and no one bats an eye - it's totally normal for men to hang around women's changing rooms to hold piles of clothes, assist with strappy business and zips, help pick out the best outfit, &c.. Hell, when I was more, er, outré in my fashion choices I used to buy clothes from women's shops quite often and never had a problem using the changing rooms, even if I was on my own.

All of which shows how utterly shitting ridiculous the 'what if a pervy bloke pretends to be trans' argument is, and makes this sort of incident a million times more depressing - as a cis man I'm perfectly welcome in women's changing rooms, but trans women and butch/masculine/non-typical women aren't? Madness.
posted by jack_mo at 9:10 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


I think, by far, the greatest and most destructive war in social justice circles has been between radfems and transwomen. It's torn apart an entire movement (feminism) and pitted potential allies against one another. It's extremely sad.

This made me tic pretty badly. Maybe it's unintentional, but your phrasing really posits this as a "both sides are bad" sort of situation, when we're talking about a marginalised group struggling for recognition and legal rights contra a fucking hate group. We trans people sure are evil for having to go and cause division by having a go at such wonderful feminist figureheads as Germaine Greer, aren't we?


Well, here's the problem: You could be uncomfortable with male-seeming people in the dressing room, and yet not be a bigot.

'male-seeming' is subjective. And no, being uncomfortable with mannish women in a women's dressing room is bigotry.


Folks seem to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that it's never happened means it never will happen.

...so have a policy against hanging around ogling people? If creepy and abusive behaviour is a problem, have a policy against that, not against trans people on the basis that they might potentially engage in such behaviour, or they might possibly resemble some people who might potentially engage in such behaviour. Bonus points for a policy that actually addresses the problem behaviours: you can enforce it against cis women who engage in problematic behaviour. Why, it's almost like addressing actual problems rather than groups removed by several hypothetical steps is more effective!
posted by Dysk at 5:16 PM on July 20 [6 favorites]


I welcome trans women into any and all safe places. Come join us. In the case of bathrooms, it's nice to have a place where you can adjust yourself or be sick or sit down for a minute and cry without the judgmental male gaze. It's not about sexual attraction. I've never had a lesbian look at me as if I were a lesser species, one that only existed to be sexually attractive or repulsive to them.

Bra shopping sucks. I'm sorry, it sounds like it sucks for you, trans women, for extra reasons. I don't like it that the store I go to is well known for ripping open the curtain without warning. You probably know what it feels like to be self conscious about your body and you probably also know what it feels like to have someone stomp all over your boundaries about it.

Oh hey let me share my creeper in the dressing room story. I was a teen. He was there watching his girlfriend show off sexy lingerie for him. I didn't appreciate being an unwilling participant in their fetish. While he was there, I couldn't open the door to ask my mom for fit advice or have my sister get the last book. I don't think that guy had a right to look me up and down and check out what underwear I was going to be trying on. That's none of his business.

So yeah, trans women, these are your bathrooms and dressing rooms and locker rooms just as much as they are mine. But that is NOT the same thing as having unisex rooms for boys and girls. And you dudes upthread, get oooout. Let us try on clothes in peace!
posted by Gable Oak at 6:32 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Here's an update to the story.

And the article is written extraordinarily well IMO.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:05 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Thanks for sharing that, Annika. Tons of props to Petticoat Fair for being willing to learn, Kylie Jack for being so focused on progress forward and being so open about her experience, and the writer of that piece for giving us a lot more information than was previously available.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:22 AM on July 31


Thanks for posting that; I'd been waiting for an update to this story. I'm really pleased all the way around.
posted by immlass at 9:23 AM on July 31


Have they updated their policy to allow trans women without "bottom surgery" to use their services? Or was that not actually a policy and either the employee or Kylie Jack was incorrect? I guess I'm confused by the focus in the article on language use and not on what I thought was the underlying issue.
posted by muddgirl at 9:46 AM on July 31


And FWIW I'm already seeing local folks on tumblr who are still very unhappy with the article (or at least with some of the things Petticoat Fair folks had to say) so things may not be over yet.
posted by immlass at 9:47 AM on July 31


Also it sounds to me like if they're so crowded they have a difficult time controlling their private rooms and have to resort to snap judgements as to who is "safe", they may want to consider switching to an appointment system on the weekends, similar to bridal salons, rather than first-come first-serve.
posted by muddgirl at 9:49 AM on July 31


I'm not too pleased with the outcome, but the article is a great example of how to write on transgender issues and get all the terms right.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:54 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Educating the store was the best thing I could see coming out of the situation given the atmosphere (of the store, not the discussion--it's the sort of place where I, who am middle-aged and cis and well within broadly accepted parameters for femininity, felt a bit like an insufficiently feminine outlier). I was really surprised and dismayed to see the pushback from the store about "creepers", because I have a hard time seeing how that could be happening in a community as small as Austin unless there were a bunch of repeat offenders who could be banned/reported to the police. And if they're talking about trans women who don't meet a fairly narrow band of feminine expression, it boggles me that the store hasn't brought on this blowup until now.

One of the things that came out in the discussion of treatment of trans women was their store policies for women with mastectomies, which is a separate issue from their policies toward trans women. That the store isolates them didn't surprise me as someone who had shopped there (once, before this situation came up), but there's also clearly some education that needs to go on in that area as well.
posted by immlass at 10:41 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a great article (false equivalence stuff among other things), but at least the store is sort of lazily trying as a result of the social media pressure the author maligns.
posted by Corinth at 5:38 PM on July 31


it boggles me that the store hasn't brought on this blowup until now

Honestly, my guess is that even a few years ago this blowup couldn't have happened at all. There is a lot more mainstream awareness now that trans women count as women and don't deserve this sort of second-class status, and a lot more media attention on trans issues. But that's all a recent change, and without all that awareness and attention, this would have gone much differently.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:06 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Corinth: how sad a state of affairs is it that my measure of a good article on trans topics is "They didn't dead name her and got the pronouns right".

I posted this to facebook in a comment, it sums up what I think:

"Well, trans women don't creep and anything other than a bright line saying "trans women are absolutely welcome here without reservation" is a policy that is conflating trans women with creepers, which is disheartening to me on very painful, personal levels. Furthermore, a policy that tries to appease cis women who are uncomfortable around trans women is a policy appeasing transphobic people. A trans woman is not a threat or a harm to anyone."
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:25 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


« Older Mobile Phones   |   Here's to the Lady Who Lunched Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post