Austin Lingerie Store Asks for Transwoman’s ID Before Service

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Saturday Jul 5, 2014

An Austin, Texas lingerie store is coming under fire today after being accused of humiliating and discriminating against a transgender customer. Towleroad reports that transwoman Kylie Jack was shopping at Petticoat Fair when an employee asked for proof of gender before offering service.

"Today I went for a bra fitting at Petticoat Fair, where an employee humiliated me by asking for ID stating I was female and saying I needed bottom surgery in order to get a fitting," wrote Jack on her Facebook page. "If you are in solidarity with trans women, please boycott Petticoat Fair until they remove their transphobic and cissexist policies."

According to its website, "every woman [at Petticoat Fair] is treated with respect and given one-on-one attention and is helped to feel comfortable and confident in properly fitted undergarments."

The store's owner Kirk Andrews has since posted a lengthy apology. which reads in part, "There seems to be a misconception that Petticoat Fair has a policy of not working with the transgendered community. That is not the case. In fact, we have served the transgendered community for most of our 50 years in Austin. What we do have is a policy regarding who may or may not enter our fitting rooms."

"The dressing room area is a particularly private and vulnerable place for many women and girls, so it's a protected area. For that reason, we also have a completely separate dressing area for women who have undergone mastectomies and need post-surgical care," wrote Andrews. "Just as a gym won't allow men in a women's dressing room for the comfort and safety of its patrons, we don't allow men or boys above a certain age in our dressing area."

In a response to Kirk's apology, Jack replied, "Kirk is sincere in his efforts to do better, but only time and actual action will tell. I'll consider the issue resolved when a formal public apology is issued to the Austin trans community along with the steps they're taking to update their policies to be trans-friendly and trans-inclusive."

Jack also thanked her supporters for lending their voices on Facebook, noting, "One thing I should mention is that it's hard to tell if individual employees are doing their best to work with a shitty policy and just keeping their job, vs working by their own prejudices. So if you're calling or leaving reviews, please focus on the business and their policies, not the employee herself."

Kirk's apology and Jack's caveat didn't stop folks from commenting on Petticoat Fair's Facebook page. User Rachel Zellers wrote, "Transphobic. They will treat you like garbage unless your driver's license proves you're a 'real woman' or you've had your bottom surgery. Speak with your wallet and never give your patronage to these sorry excuses for human beings. They can't even render a proper apology. They disgust me and should disgust you too."

And user Hingle McCringleberry drove the point home, stating, "Really? Comparing transgender women to boys and men at the gym?! And I thought that this debacle couldn't get any worse."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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