B.C. on Gender: Transgender Rants

Sitting in the Back of the Bus

Okay. I'm going to rant for a moment.

I belong to a TG group in the Toronto area called Xpressions. Anyway, one day the Xpressions organizers convinced a Toronto-area lingerie shop to stay open late one evening to accomodate a private party of TGs (mostly M2F crossdressers, but not exclusively). It was a lingerie shop that specialized in fitting a variety of odd sizes, which was ideal for TGs (who tend to come in a variety of odd sizes.) Anyway, I was there chatting with many of the people I know and I overheard a conversation between one of the Xpressions members and one of the store employees. The conversation went something like this (I'm paraphrasing):

TG: "Look, I don't know if I have the money to buy something today, but I'm in town this week; can I come back later in the week and try some of this stuff on?"

Employee: "You can come back any time. But you should try on the things you like now, and you can come back and pay for them later."

TG: "I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to buy; I don't want you to hold anything for me."

Employee: "No, we don't have to hold anything. But you should try things on now for sizes. We can't let you use the dressing rooms at any other time."

TG: "Oh?"

Employee: "No, I'm sorry. We can't risk offending our real customers -- our other customers. 99% of our customers are real women; we can't risk offending them."

I should point out that this store had four or five completely self-contained dressing rooms and the doors opened into the main area. There was no risk of "peeking over the partitions", nor was there a semi-private common area, the likes of which are seen in a lot of stores. Also, the TG in question was very passable; the average person would probably have assumed that she was a genetic female.

Part of me thinks: "Hey, it's really great that this shop is willing to stay open for us TGs", and part of me thinks "Well, gee, I guess we're not 'real' customers". Yeah, that's what the employee said. 'Real' customers.

"I'm not really a customer, but I play one on TV..."

So I'm having a mental debate with myself. On the one hand, I don't want to say to the shop owners: "Hey you guys are pretty closed-minded" because at least they were willing to go this far for us, but on the other hand, I don't like the idea of the TG community spending money where they aren't given the same rights as all the other customers. It irks me. I try to remind myself that one should appreciate the partial victories, but to be frank, the incident left a sour taste in my mouth.

Copyright © by B.C. Holmes. Last updated: August 13th, 1996
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