UPDATE: Kylie Jack released the following statement on her Facebook page late Wednesday night: "At the beginning of this, I asked for a boycott of Petticoat Fair as an act of solidarity with trans women. I am rescinding this request for the time being. Some folks will be happy with where the situation stands now, and some will want to wait to see what happens with the policy. So, I leave it up to every individual who has supported me to make a choice about shopping there or not, or to update reviews according to his response.
Thanks to Kirk for reaching out to me in good faith and trying to work through this. Many businesses would have waited for the social media storm to end, then done nothing. Given the size of their business, I feel they're doing their best to move as quickly as possible to help resolve this."
A social media firestorm erupted last weekend when a local transgender woman publicly posted about her experience at Petticoat Fair, a high-end intimate apparel shop in North Austin. According to the post (found on Facebook and published here), Kylie Jack went into the boutique on Saturday afternoon for a bra fitting, but was refused service.
"During my appointment, I was asked if I was an 'anatomical woman,' told I’d need to present ID proving my legal status as a female, and that I could only be fitted if I had sex reassignment surgery," Jack stated. "This is cissexist, transphobic, and transmisogynistic, and illegal according to Austin’s non-discrimination ordinance."
In the remainder of the post, Jack implored the store to "make this right," by meeting the following criteria: apologizing to the transgender community as a whole; publicly updating the store's policy on working with the gender spectrum, gender identity, and gender expression; and making a $1000 donation to the Transgender Education Network of Texas. Jack also asked that the sales clerk who refused her service not be fired, assuming that the clerk was acting in the interest of the store's policies.
If the outlined requests were met, Jack stated that she would "remove [her] negative reviews, and also ask people to end the boycott and remove their negative reviews."
After an initial Facebook response that was called "an awful attempt at an apology" on Writings To E.D., Petticoat Fair issued a revised statement on Monday, requesting to meet with Jack in person. And on Wednesday, the store released the following statement via Facebook, effectively ending, for now, the dialogue regarding its policies.
We want to give our Facebook community an update on where we are with this ongoing process. We have a meeting scheduled with the Transgender Education Network, and with transgender advocate Meghan Stabler. We've made this a priority and are working to develop a policy that is inclusive, respectful, and sensitive to all of our customers and employees. There is a learning curve--we are experts in the women's intimate apparel business; and simply were not educated in some of the issues we're coming to understand now.
We also, of course, still have a store to run and customers to serve. While we've appreciated a lot of the dialogue here, we've been dismayed at the number of mean-spirited comments and personal attacks. For now, we are ending the conversation on this topic and will delete further posts. When we announce a policy here (possibly two weeks from now) we will welcome comments again. I want to end by saying what many of you have asked for: We messed up. We are sorry for that, and we are working diligently to do better.
On a personal note, I want to thank Kylie for the respectful way that she has handled this entire situation. I admire her bravery in coming forward to fight for what she believes in.
Sincerely, Kirk Andrews
As of press time, Petticoat Fair's Facebook page still featured seven negative, one-star reviews regarding the transgender community's experience at the store. Jack has not yet released a public statement regarding the latest post from Petticoat Fair.