“The swimsuit might get ruined if men try it on.”
At an H&M store in the Philippines, a sales associate forbade a trans woman from trying on a swimsuit.
The woman, Paulo Adrian Bataller, shared her experience on Facebook in the “spirit of Pride month.” She shared this story even though she has experienced plenty of discrimination in her lifetime.
“I don’t usually post stuff like this on social media but in the spirit of pride month I decided to speak up,” she wrote.
According to Bataller, an H&M sales associate stopped her from trying on a swimsuit. She explained she was trans, but the retail clerk still refused to let her try on the garment.
“Kasi po mas nasisira po ‘yung mga swimsuit ‘pag lalaki nagfifit (The swimsuit might get ruined if men try it on),” the staff member said.
Bataller told the employee they were discriminating against her, then the staff member insisted on getting his manager.
“Ending up, they didn’t allow me. As someone who works in the fashion industry, I am deeply disappointed. No one should ever be restricted in fitting or buying the clothes they want, regardless of gender,” Bataller continued.
“Take note, the staff who didn’t allow me is gay and I thought he would be more understanding. Instead, he just raised his voice and emphasized that I’m a man. As someone who identifies herself as a woman, this is very hurtful and offensive.”
Bataller said she hopes this doesn’t happen again to anyone else. She also encouraged people to stand up for themselves and ‘uphold your rights’.
In response to Bataller’s experience, H&M issued an apology and said it was “shocked” at how H&M employees treated Bataller.
“We are very sorry for the experience she had, this should never happen to her or to anyone. We are currently investigating the situation and have been coordinating with both the customer and the said store. We will be taking immediate corrective actions in order to avoid this from happening again, and most of all, to further reiterate the idea and practice of inclusiveness to our colleagues in the Philippines,” the company said in the statement.
“At H&M, we have zero-tolerance policy on discrimination. We celebrate diversity and respect our customers and colleagues regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We have a strong and clear guidelines on this as part of the training program that every H&M employee goes through – new and current,” it continued.
“H&M is a place where you can be yourself and dress your personality. Our diversity makes us strong, and creates an inclusive and welcoming workplace where everyone’s individuality is highly valued.”