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Monsoon's female changing rooms are 'open to BOTH sexes' after 'non-binary' teen blocked

Monsoon's female changing rooms are 'open to BOTH sexes' after 'non-binary' teen blocked

Monsoon says women’s locker rooms are ‘open to both genders’ after a teen who identifies as ‘non-binary’ was ‘humiliated’ when blocked in the women’s fitting room from trying on a prom dress .

Charlie Moore, 18, who uses she/she pronouns, was shopping with a friend for an outfit at the retailer’s Grand Central store in Birmingham on Monday afternoon.

The student said that after ‘complaints from women with children’, a staff member said ‘men are not allowed to try on our clothes’ before telling them to leave the women’s changing rooms.

Monsoon later apologized, saying the changing rooms are “open and available to all customers.” The company also opened an investigation and offered to help Charlie find their “perfect prom dress” for free.

A Monsoon spokesperson told MailOnline today that it was intended to meet the needs and wants of “all our customers.”

The incident comes after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it is perfectly legal for public authorities and businesses to restrict services to one gender.

Under EHRC guidelines, Monsoon had the right to remove Charlie from the locker room after “complaints from women with children,” but only as long as there was also a gender-neutral locker room for trans or non-binary people.

Non-binary genders – which are defined by the government as ‘someone who is somehow outside of binary gender equality’ – are currently not recognized in UK law.

The Gender Recognition Act allows a person to change the gender stated on their birth certificate, either from male to female, or vice versa, but it “does not provide for the recognition of any other gender.”

'Non-binary' teen Charlie Moore, 18, (pictured), who uses side pronouns, was shopping with a friend for an outfit at the fashion retailer's Grand Central store in Birmingham on Monday afternoon and said that 'men don't to be'.  may our clothes fit'

‘Non-binary’ teen Charlie Moore, 18, (pictured), who uses side pronouns, was shopping with a friend for an outfit at the fashion retailer’s Grand Central store in Birmingham on Monday afternoon and said that ‘men don’t to be’. may our clothes fit’

Monsoon later apologized, opened an investigation and offered to help Charlie find their 'perfect prom dress' for free

Monsoon later apologized, opened an investigation and offered to help Charlie find their ‘perfect prom dress’ for free

Charlie said they were shopping with their friend who “doesn’t identify as feminine” but presents “in a more feminine way.”

Charlie said, “We grabbed some dresses and went to the individual cubicles of the locker rooms. There is only one area, it is not labeled.

“We each went into a booth and when I put it on, this voice, who turned out to be an outside employee, said, ‘Excuse me, men aren’t allowed to try on our clothes.’

“I was hesitant because of that, but because I didn’t want to embarrass myself or attract attention, I joined.

‘She said, ‘Can you wait outside for your friend?’ I waited on a bench outside the booth.’

Charlie, who studies A Levels at a sixth form in Birmingham, said about five minutes later that the same staff told them to get out of the dressing room completely, but their friend was allowed to try on the dresses “without a problem”. , they added.

Charlie said the incident made them feel “like I wasn’t welcome or wanted.”

They added: ‘It would be foolish to assume that it doesn’t take any courage to walk into such a store and try on a dress if they are typically masculine.

“So being told you’re not welcome here is a lot of built-up courage that is instantly knocked down.

“Besides, it’s very embarrassing. I felt humiliated and as if I was not welcome or wanted.

“It feels very hurtful and wrong. They need to be open about whether it was that employee or if it’s company policy.

“If it’s store policies, I think there should be questions about whether those policies are compliant in the 21st century.”

The teen later shared some of their experience on Twitter, politely asking if the incident had happened as part of “store policy.”

Monsoon replied, “Hi Charlie, we are sorry to hear about the experience you had at one of our stores. Our fitting rooms are open and available to all our customers and we have launched an investigation into this incident.”

Monsoon's female changing rooms are 'open to BOTH sexes' after 'non-binary' teen blocked

Monsoon's female changing rooms are 'open to BOTH sexes' after 'non-binary' teen blocked

In a follow-up comment, Monsoon added: “If you’re comfortable with that, we’d love to welcome you back to our store where we’ll be happy to help you find your perfect prom dress, and it’s up to us.

“Everyone deserves to feel magical before the prom, so we hope this gets your prom journey back on track and we hope you find something you love. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you very much Monsoon.’

A Monsoon spokesperson told MailOnline that the Birmingham store staff member had “done nothing wrong” when they told Charlie to leave the changing rooms.

In a statement, the spokesperson added: “Monsoon is committed to diversity and inclusion and we want as many people as possible to enjoy our clothing and designs.

“At the same time, we also want to ensure that all our customers feel relaxed and comfortable when visiting our stores and trying on our outfits.

‘Most of our stores are small with limited changing facilities, so we strive to work with all our customers; taking into account each of their individual requirements, with the aim of meeting their needs and wishes.’

Charlie said the incident left them and their friend feeling “hurt, unwelcome and embarrassed” and that they chose to cut short their shopping trip.

The sixth, who realized in primary school that their ‘mind and body were not aligned’, is currently raising £1,200 for sex confirmation hormone therapy through GoFundMe.

The EHRC said its guidelines will help service providers make lawful decisions about services they offer separately to women and men.

It advises organizations such as hospitals, retailers, hospitality and sports clubs to adopt policies that are both legal and balance the needs of different groups.

In a gym or retail space with communal locker rooms for separated genders, the guidance said there could be concerns about the safety and dignity of trans men changing in an open environment.

The gym or retail space could therefore introduce an additional gender-neutral locker room with self-contained units, the guidance says.

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