Lingerie and clothing store 6IXTY8IGHT has issued an apology to a transgender woman after a salesperson at one of the chain’s outlets denied letting her use the changing rooms when she was shopping last year.
In a letter to Hui, the chain said it expresses sincere apologies for the unpleasant incident. It added that it values social inclusion and will educate staff about the rights of sexual minorities, Stand News reported Monday.
Hui was shopping at a 6IXTY8IGHT store in Telford Plaza at Kowloon Bay last August when she asked if the changing rooms were open. She was told to try the clothes on at home and to bring them back if they did not fit.
Initially, Hui thought the rooms were closed due to the store’s COVID-19 measures. But when she saw another shopper using the changing rooms, she asked again and was told they were for “women only.”
Hui, who had undergone gender reassignment surgery, showed her Hong Kong identity card recognizing her as female. Still, she was refused.
Believing that the the saleswomen denied her use of the changing room due to her deep voice, Hui filed a complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) last September, accusing the chain of violating the discrimination ordinance.
Outside the EOC office, she and representatives of the Association for Transgender Rights held up signs reading “transgender people have the right to try on clothes” and “unequal treatment is discrimination.”
The transgender community in Hong Kong has long spoken out about a lack of understanding of the minority group.
Activists criticize the government’s policy of only legally recognizing and accepting people as their preferred gender after they undergo sex reassignment surgery, a complex medical procedure that carries with it serious risk and, some say, little value.
It was only in 2013 that Hong Kong gave transgender people the right to marry as their affirmed gender. The amendment to the law was a victory for the minority community, following a high-profile court case involving a post-operative male-to-female transsexual fighting to tie the knot with her boyfriend.