People magazine is reporting that a man who identifies as a woman was prevented from using the women’s dressing room at an Urban Outfitters store in Los Angeles.
Julie Mazziotta writes that actor and performance artist Nicholas Gorham, “who identifies as a gender-fluid trans person,” was shopping with a female friend at Urban Outfitters when the two asked to use the dressing room. The attendant “immediately led Gorham's friend to a room, but started to take Gorham to a separate area.”
Writing a guest column about what allegedly happened next for Mic.com Gorham explains the interaction with the store attendant:
When we got to the dressing rooms, Tamara, a cis woman, was taken in and given a room before the attendant began leading me to a completely different area to change.
She could feel the awkwardness and offered: "Well the thing is there are young girls over there so I can't really ..."
"Uh, OK," I replied, "Well, I'm trans."
"I know," she said. "It's just that it's the policy."
There was a long pause — the tension undeniable. "I mean, I guess I can put you in here," she finally said, motioning to a spot on the other side of a number of rooms now separating Tamara and I.
When I entered into that room, my heart was racing — I could hardly breathe. Despite knowing all too well that many of my friends deal with this on a daily basis, I had yet to experience it myself. All of my insecurities came rushing to the surface. All the fear of trying to live as an authentic person; all the work I've done to unblock myself from those fears, all of that energy swirled around me in that room. I couldn't think.
When Gorham complained, Urban Outfitters responded:
Thanks for following up with us, Nicholas. Urban Outfitters does not aim to discriminate against any of its customers or employees, and its stores operate in accordance with state and federal law. Although some retailers in the US are currently beginning to offer gender neutral bathrooms are dressing rooms, there are no binding regulations at this time in the state of California to which stores must adhere when making this decision as regards their own retail space. Given this, we've shared your feedback with the store location in question, as well as the upper management overseeing that store...I'm sorry if you feel this does not sufficiently address your concerns.