Primark installs 'Women Only' signs outside changing rooms amid backlash over 'Any Gender' facilities
Primark has installed “Women Only” signs outside changing rooms amid a backlash over facilities for “Any Gender”.
The news comes after the clothing retailer announced it would axe its gender-neutral changing areas from October last year after female customers said they felt unsafe sharing changing areas with men.
Primark said it would keep gender-neutral changing areas while also creating new “women only” spaces which would be accessible for both cis and trans women.
However, some customers have complained that the new signage is confusing.
In an image shared on social media on Tuesday, a blue and white sign displayed said that “These fitting rooms are for Women only,” adding: “We also have Any Gender fitting rooms available for everyone - please ask.”
Some interpreted this as a sign that the clothing giant was adopting single-sex changing areas which would exclude trans women but Primark later clarified that it had not made any changes to its policy and that anyone who identifies as a woman can use the women’s changing area provided they do not “abuse the system”.
One social media user said that it was “good to see you might finally be taking your female customers seriously”.
But trans activist India Willoughby described the signage as “terrible” and accused Primark of “succumbing to trans hysteria”.
She tweeted: “You know trans women are recognised in law as women - yes? Fact. The racial equivalent of this is 'White's Only' [sic] or the homophobic version 'Straight's Only’ [sic]. I hope you get sued.”
She later added: “Just to be clear...If you let me know of a store where I would be banned from the Women's changing room (despite being a woman) I'll pop down this week and we can start a court case.”
But the shop said that the signs were there to complement a policy introduced last October.
This policy states: “The combined fitting room area is for everyone. The women-only area is for all women and customers are not required to provide identification.
“If someone appears to be deliberately trying to abuse the policy then the store will manage at their discretion. The changes we are introducing are informed by the feedback we have had from customers and colleagues.”
“We have taken these steps to try to improve our customer experience whilst using our fitting rooms.”
Ms Willoughby said that both the signs and policy needed clarification and were “open to interpretation”.