Social media went into frenzy when Topshop officially confirmed that their stores’ changing rooms are now Gender-Neutral. The popular high-street fashion chain claim that this policy is nothing new, but that they felt obliged to confirm the change following a customer complaint on Twitter. Travis Alabanza, who identifies as trans-feminine, was refused entry to the female changing rooms at a store in Manchester and told they must use the Topman facilities instead.
The move has sparked uproar, particularly amongst mothers who worry that gender-neutral changing rooms will put their children at risk. Many threaten to boycott the shop if they do not reinstate separate changing rooms for men and women.
However many have welcomed Topshop’s stance, deeming it a progressive move appropriate for today’s society. Among those welcoming the concept is Britain’s Next Top Model’s first transgender contestant, Talulah-Eve. Speaking as part of a debate on ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday, the model voiced her view: ‘‘I think what’s important about this is the message rather than the practicality of it. It’s trying to encourage equality and sending out that positive message.’’
‘‘You’ve got to think of the people in the middle.’’
The debate got heated when TV Presenter and Journalist India Willoughby took Talulah-Eve to challenge, slamming Topshop and accusing the chain of: ‘‘Pandering to gobby nonsense.’’
‘‘I think gender neutrality is doing a real disservice to genuine transgender women.’’
The journalist stated she was adamant that Topshop would lose customers over this change: ‘‘What about the equality of the people who have been the core business customers of Topshop since the doors opened?’’
The programme ran a poll amongst their viewers to which 22% agreed that clothes stores should have gender-neutral changing rooms, whilst 78% disagreed with the concept.
What do you think of Topshop’s latest move? Is this a step in the right direction towards achieving equality for all? Do you think Topshop’s customer loyalty will suffer as social media seems to suggest? We’d love to know your thoughts and whether or not you agree with Gender Neutral changing rooms as a concept. Get in touch with us on Instagram (@unilovers.co.uk) and share your views.