SASKATOON – Outrage over an accusation that a transgendered person was not allowed to try on clothing at a bridal shop in Saskatoon has prompted dozens of people to rally outside the store.
Rohit Singh was looking for a bridal gown at Jenny’s Bridal Boutique late last month but says she was told that men weren’t allowed to put on dresses.
Singh, who identifies as a woman, attended the Saturday rally and said the outpouring of support made her feel even happier than her wedding day.
“Everybody came to me, to shake hands with me, to take pictures with me. I was so happy,” Singh said.
Miki Mappin with the Gender Equality Society of Saskatchewan said her group organized the rally and circulated a petition that calls for gender identity and expression to be included in the province’s human rights legislation.
Mappin said many of the people at the rally expressed their support by cross-dressing, even if they weren’t transgendered.
“It was festive. It was fun. The store owner left. She closed her store quite early,” Mappin said.
No one at the store was available for comment. The phone was not answered.
Singh said she went to the store on April 21 with her fiancee and a friend and when they selected a dress, they asked to try it on. Singh said the person working at the store assumed that it was for her female friend.
When they explained that the dress was for Singh, the situation went downhill.
“She said, ‘Oh, I don’t allow men to wear dresses in my store.’ I explained to her that I’m not a man, I’m a transgender and my sex-change procedure is going on,” Singh said.
“She told me, ‘It doesn’t matter to me.’ And then she snatched that dress from my hand.” Singh said she left the shop in tears.
Many people from across North America have expressed scorn for the bridal store on social media.
Singh said she intends to lodge a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
“I’m damn sure it was discrimination,” Singh said. “She told me, ‘You look like a man and I don’t think men can wear dresses as females’.”
Singh said she later found a dress at another store in Saskatoon, where she said staff were friendly and helpful.
Singh, who is originally from India, explained that she met her fiancee while she was doing a master’s in biotechnology at the University of Toronto.
They were married April 29.
Mappin said she was happy, and a little surprised, to see Singh at the rally. She said her group had been trying unsuccessfully to reach her since the first media report about the incident surfaced on Thursday. Organizers weren’t sure if they should hold the rally without talking to her, Mappin said.
“There was such a groundswell of support for her that we went ahead anyway,” Mappin said.
“She was radiant. She was just beautiful.”
© The Canadian Press, 2013