M&S gender neutral changing room policy sparks online furore

·       Gender neutral changing rooms policy prompts boycott call among safety claims

·       M&S points to policy as having been in place for three years amid divided public opinion


By guest author Mark Faithfull from Retail Gazette.

M&S confirmed its rule of allowing “customers to choose their fitting room” which has divided opinion online and led to calls for a boycott of the store.

The retailer’s policy has been in place for three years but when it was brought up on Twitter yesterday, it sparked a new debate with. Although some shoppers were irate others praised the department store for its inclusivity.

An M&S spokesperson responded to a question on the social media platform about who could use its changing rooms, and said: “While they are mainly used by customers of that gender, as an inclusive retailer and in line with most other retailers, we allow customers the choice of fitting room.”

Following the comment, #BoycottMarksandSpencer started trending on Twitter, with some arguing this policy would make the changing rooms unsafe for women.

One user said: “I have been a regular shopper at M&S since I was a teenager.

“Few times a year, every year. Clothing only.

“I shall not return to your shop until you provide female only changing rooms & I am advising friends & family of your unsafe policy.”

Another said: “We need to boycott any retailer who refuses to take the safety and dignity of women seriously”

Others have supported the policy, with M&S not alone in its approach with Topshop introducing the same approach as far back as 2017.

One supporter of M&S’ policy said: “I wondered why #boycottMarksandSpencer was trending and was totally unsurprised to see the usual transphobic bulls***.

“I’m amazed TERFs even leave their houses given how terrifying they find the idea of being in the vicinity of other people because they could turn out to be a man.”