Last week the Finnish broadcasting company Yle published a story about hidden problems within the Finnish branch of the Change Lingerie franchise. Most of the issues concerned the mistreatment of employees including bullying and illegal violations of privacy and unpaid work, even resulting in teenagers reaching a burnout. In addition to that they reported that they have a nationwide policy discriminating customers who are transgender women.
For several years none of the clerks have been allowed to serve trans women or even let them in. Instead they must be told to do all their shopping online, nullifying the very reason to consult a specialized retailer to get fitting lingerie. Some clerks have defied the policy by serving transgender customers like any other client, but they have been punished after getting caught. This policy is explained by claiming that transgender women may frighten other customers in the fitting rooms, despite the fact that people usually go into a booth alone. It should be very clear that we don’t want to harass other women but just do our shopping.
Besides this policy being clearly illegal in Finland, it is a really bad business decision. Several trans women have bought their first bras from Change Lingerie making them existing customers. This makes us abandon the franchise since the message tells us we aren’t welcome to shop there. Not only trans women but several allies have protested in the Finnish Change Lingerie’s social media feeds filling up the comment field, telling they will no longer shop there. Change Lingerie Finland tried to fix the issue by doing a non-apology about the mistreatment of employees but didn’t even attempt to apologize the transgender community at all.
We heard from transgender Danes that the Danish Change Lingerie has been quite conscious about the transgender population. Both the Finnish news story and former employees made it clear that the chief of the Finnish market in Change, Marjo Topi is behind the Finnish nationwide anti-trans policy. So it seems that the problem won’t be fixed until she is forced to do so or resign. We would like to know how the Danish HQ feels about discriminatory policies like these and the resulting boycott campaigns and whether you would like to contact the board of the Finnish subsidiary.
The news story in Finnish:
Excerpt from the equality and equity laws of Finland banning such policies:
Transfeminines reg.org. http://transfeminiinit.fi/
Trasek ry http://trasek.fi/
DreamWearClub ry http://dreamwearclub.net/