Ross Updates Trans Discrimination Policy

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 11 2011 7:50 PM ET

Following the ejection from a Ross Dress for Less store of a transgender woman who was trying on clothes, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington says that the store is making positive changes to make the company less discriminatory.

In November 2010, “Christy_M” posted on a cross-dressing forum that a manager pounded on the dressing room door of the company’s Lynnwood, Wash. store and yelled, “You need to get out of the dressing room now!” as she was trying on a sweater dress. Startled and embarrassed, Christy_M left the store, and vomited in the parking lot. “I felt so embarrassed and disgusted with myself,” Christy_M wrote. “I have so much shame wearing on me that I can hardly move.”

In December the ACLU contacted the stores for the unlawful discrimination under Washington state law, writing, “Ross was legally required to afford (Christy_M) ‘full enjoyment’ of its Lynnwood store, which includes the right to enter the store and not be treated as unwelcome, unaccepted, undesired or unsolicited.”

The ACLU of Washington says that California-based Ross Dress for Less has clarified to employees that company policy prohibits discrimination against persons based on gender identity and expression, and that the Ross Stores was drafting policy including a “special instruction” to employees on accommodating customers’ gender identities for use of the bathroom and dressing rooms.

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