Published: Saturday 23 June, 2018

H&M Accused of Discrimination as Transgender is Refused Swimsuit Fitting

H&M Philippines apologized to a transgender woman and the LGBT community after being accused of discrimination. This after an H&M staff prevented the trans woman to try on a swimsuit, telling her that the store does not allow ‘men to try on women’s clothes’.

H&M Philippines

H&M Philippines has apologized to a trans woman and the LGBT community over discrimination claims.

The incident happened the H&M store at Gateway Mall in Cubao. According to transgender woman Paulo Adrian Bataller, she tried went to the store and decided to try on a swimsuit since the store had a sale, and also because she was preparing for a trip to the beach. However, Bataller was unprepared for what happened.

“I don’t usually post stuff like this on social media but in the spirit of pride month, I decided to speak up,” she said in a Facebook post that had since gone viral.

“I picked a swimsuit and when I was about to fit it, a staff in the fitting room stopped me,” Paulo narrated.

Staff: Sorry sir pero bawal po magfit ang lalaki ng swimsuit na pambabae.
Me: Huh? Bakit? But I’m transgender.
Staff: Kasi po mas nasisira po yung mga swimsuit pag lalaki nagfifit.
Me: Edi pag nasira edi babayaran ko.
Staff: Hindi po talaga pwede.
Me: Discrimination yan. Kahapon nakapagfit naman ako ng swimsuit dito (true story)

She said she tried to talk to the manager but the manager didn’t face her.

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“I wasn’t able to talk to the manager. The staff was the one who talked with the manager. The manager didn’t even go to me to explain.”

“Ending up, they didn’t allow me. As someone who works in the fashion industry, I am deeply disappointed. No one should ever be restricted in fitting or buying the clothes they want, regardless of gender. Take note, the staff who didn’t allow me is gay and I thought he would be more understanding. Instead, he just raised his voice and emphasized that I’m a man. As someone who identifies herself as a woman, this is very hurtful and offensive,” Bataller wrote.

“I hope this never happen again to my fellow transwomen or to anyone who just want to express themselves freely. I also hope that H&M revisit their policy because their current one is obviously discriminatory. Lastly, to anyone who will experience what I experienced today, don’t be afraid to speak up and uphold your right,” she added.

UPDATE: Paulo Adrian Bataller’s Facebook post has been deleted.

Meanwhile, H&M has issued an apology about the incident. H&M Philippines said they are shocked to learn about what happened to Paulo and are currently investigating the situation. They added that such an incident “should never happen to her or to anyone.”

Read H&M’s full statement below:

We are shocked at the treatment that Pau, our customer, received from one of our staff yesterday evening while shopping. We are very sorry for the experience she had, this should never happen to her or to anyone. We are currently investigating the situation and have been coordinating with both the customer and the said store. We will be taking immediate corrective actions in order to avoid this from happening again, and most of all, to further reiterate the idea and practice of inclusiveness to our colleagues in the Philippines.

At H&M, we have zero-tolerance policy on discrimination. We celebrate diversity and respect our customers and colleagues regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We have a strong and clear guidelines on this as part of the training program that every H&M employee goes through – new and current. This is also published on our website

H&M is a place where you can be yourself and dress your personality. Our diversity makes us strong, and creates an inclusive and welcoming workplace where everyone’s individuality is highly valued.

Additionally, apart from the many works we have had and are on-going with regards to diversity, this month, we have launched a special collection called Love For All in celebration of the Pride season. 10% of the sales from this collection will be donated to the UN Free & Equal – the United Nations Human Rights Office campaign whose aim is to build a world where no one should be afraid because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.