Trans woman told she can’t use changing room because they’re for ‘women only’

6IXTY8IGHT store front

A Hong Kong lingerie and clothing store has issued an apology after they blocked a trans woman from using the changing rooms.

According to news website Coconuts, the woman, Hui, was shopping at a 6IXTY8IGHT store in Telford Plaza in August 2020 when she asked if the changing rooms were open.

Hui had reportedly wanted to try on a sports bra, but she was told by a saleswoman that she would have to try on the clothes at home.

She thought the changing rooms were closed due to COVID but saw other shoppers entering the rooms. She asked again if she could try on the clothing and was told the facilities were for “women only”.

Hui then showed her Hong Kong identity card, which says she is legally recognised as female. But she was still refused entry.

Later, Hui filed a complaint to the equal opportunities unit (EOC), accusing the outlet of violating the discrimination ordinate. She said she believed the saleswoman denied her the use of the changing rooms because of her voice.

After she filed the complaint, Hui received a letter of apology from 6IXTY8IGHT. The store said it “sincerely apologises” to Hui, and that there had been an internal review of the “incident” which had “formulated clearer service guidelines and provided employees with training on gender equality awareness”.

Trans people in Hong Kong can only be legally recognised if they have undergone gender affirmation surgery and forced sterilisation under draconian laws. Even then, they can only update the gender marker on certain documents, not including birth certificates.

According to Stonewall, the trans community faces “much discrimination and stigma” in Hong Kong, and there have been a “number of human rights cases involving trans individuals”.

The charity also called Hong Kong’s gender recognition laws “archaic”, adding the laws “do not respect a trans individual’s right to be fully legally recognised in their affirmed gender”.