J. Crew is getting caught up in its own controversy today. No, the retailer didn’t throw away perfectly good unsold garments or claim its clothes were organic when in fact they were genetically modified. Instead, transgender activists are accusing the retailer of prejudice. Make the Road, an organization that promotes the rights of transgender people, spearheaded its own undercover operation recently to test out which retailers were accepting or discriminating of those who have changed genders. The worst offenders in a series of businesses tested were J. Crew and Dean & Deluca.
So, how were they tested? Yo (Yozmit) Smith, a 39-year-old transgender performance artist from Brooklyn, applied at dozens of shops in Manhattan as “an openly transgender person,” says the New York Daily News. “At the same time, a nontransgender person evenly matched in age, race and experience applied for the same jobs.” While Smith failed to receive a single offer from any of the places she applied, her competition received 8. The group has already filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office.
Tolerance has taken a beating these last few months. Back in September, Abercrombie & Fitch was fined $115,264 for discrimination against an autistic girl four years after the original complaint was filed. Prada, in the meantime, was suedjust last week by workers who were fired for being too “old, fat and ugly.”