A transgender woman in Turkey says she was harassed by shop assistants at a Victoria’s Secret store in Istanbul, who refused to let her use the changing room, Pink News reports.
Gülşen Afife says she was laughed at by two store clerks who said that only women were allowed to use the changing cubicles.
When Afife stood her ground and reminded them that they represented an international brand, they replied: “We have many gay employees but the customers are uncomfortable with you trying it on here.”
“Are they uncomfortable at the common waiting area? Then you shouldn’t let trans women and gay people to enter the store,” Afife said.
However, the store managers insisted that their behaviour was reasonable "because they had gay employees" and that it was out of their hands because it was the other customers who didn’t approve.
Afife left the store and says she will be pressing charges on the grounds of discrimination.
She told Pink News that the treatment she received was not isolated, and is part of a wider problem in Turkey where the LGBT+ community is treated with derision.
“Hate and discrimination even in international companies are encouraged,” she said.
The event comes not long after Istanbul Pride was cancelled, then violently broken up by police when marchers took to the streets in defiance of the ban. The following week, a transgender Pride event was also interrupted, with seven people arrested for participating.