A trans woman who was told to leave the women’s changing rooms in Dorothy Perkins because they are for “females only” says the worst part of the experience was the “hatred” she received online for reporting the incident.
London-based comedian Darcie Silver was with her wife at the Oxford Street branch of Dorothy Perkins last weekend, September 7, when the incident occurred.
She was told to leave the women’s changing rooms – which she was in with her wife, who was trying something on – because “it’s only for females”.
Darcie says she left the changing rooms and a few minutes later asked the staff member who’d ejected her why she couldn’t be in there – as she thought she might have misheard.
Again, Darcie says she was told she couldn’t be in the women’s changing room because “it’s only for females”.
Darcie Silver tweeted her formal complaint about the incident, which she also emailed to Dorothy Perkins, on 9 September. She said she felt “embarrassed, dirty, pathetic and humiliated” at being asked to leave the women’s changing rooms.
But the comedian felt compelled to delete the tweet “because the level of hatred from radfems was just insane”.
“It’s too sad and traumatic to have on my Twitter and to see,” Darcie told PinkNews.
Dozens of responses to Darcie’s tweet, seen by PinkNews but not included in this article because of their transphobic nature, misgendered Darcie, mocked and ridiculed her for being trans, and alleged that trans women are sexual predators.
Although she’s never been asked to leave a women’s space before, Darcie told PinkNews that when she and her wife are out in public together they “get the typical lesbian stares, which then turn horrible if they realise I’m trans” and that she’s had multiple bad experiences on the London Underground.
“When I’m told that I’m a man it just ruins my life because it makes me scared to go anywhere or do anything. It makes me feel gross and weird and like I should just die.
“I hate it. I can’t help being a woman. I wish I could. I’ve had a horrible life because of it. I can’t imagine anyone ever choosing to be trans because it’s so difficult to live with.
“Every time I find peace and my groove and get a little bit of confidence, something like this happens. And it takes me months to get my confidence back.”
Darcie says she is “happy” and “satisfied” with the way Dorothy Perkins handled the incident – the company has apologised and the staff member involved was spoken to and had the store’s diversity policies reiterated to them – but that she’s “distraught [by the] hatred on Twitter. It’s just heartbreaking”.
“I had to delete the tweet due to hundreds of hateful spiteful people being abusive to me and trans people in general. It spiralled and the level of hatred was sickening.
“It’s just so sad. I don’t know why they hate us. They are no different to Nazi ideology or radicalised extremists. That’s my worry as a transgender comedian. I have put myself out there and the fundamentalists can use the internet against me.”
Some of the people who replied to Darcie’s tweet had linked to footage of her stand-up act, in which she talks about being trans, taking some of her comments – made in a completely different situation – out of context.
“I just don’t want to partake in their argument because you can’t rationalise with fanatics. They need de-radicalisation. It’s really bothered me,” she said.
A spokesperson for Dorothy Perkins told PinkNews that they had spoken both to Darcie and the team member involved.
“Our teams are given in-store training on diversity which includes our policy concerning fitting rooms – which are available for all customers to use with respect to other customers’ privacy.
“Following on from Saturday the team directly involved have had the policies reiterated to them and further team talks occurred to ensure that this does not happen again.
“Dorothy Perkins is an inclusive brand and we were disappointed that this had happened in one of our stores.”