A female customer was unnerved when a man, who reportedly made no effort to appear as a woman, but said he was “representing himself as a woman today,” entered the women’s dressing room at a Ross department store in Mesquite, Texas.
Lisa Stickles, who was in the dressing room at the time, said she became alarmed when she heard a man’s voice and quickly went to inform the manager.
“She went inside the dressing room, came right back out and called me to the side and told me. … He was representing himself as a woman today,” Ms. Stickles told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth.
Ross said it does not discriminate against transgender people for the purpose of regulating access to changing rooms.
Ms. Stickles said the manager told her, if she felt uncomfortable, to wait outside of the dressing room for the man to finish changing. She called the retail store’s corporate office while waiting, when she saw the man come out.
“He was in no way dressed as a woman,” she said. “He had on jeans, a T-shirt, 5 o’clock shadow, very deep voice. He was a man.”
“It was, you know, more like he was doing it because he could,” Ms. Stickles said. “So, that’s kind of how I took it.”
The incident comes amid a heated national debate about how to accommodate transgender people who wish to use facilities of the opposite sex.
Liberals advocate regulating restroom, locker room and changing room access on the basis of gender identity, while conservatives contend such laws have serious potential for abuse, essentially allowing any man to enter women’s facilities on the basis of subjective self-identification.
President Obama issued an order last Friday jeopardizing federal education funds for public schools nationwide that do not allow access to restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of gender identity.