A North Carolina mother wrote an open letter on Facebook to a Justice Clothing Store after the sales staff accommodated her gender non-conforming son. The letter immediately went viral.
"My son would longingly look in the windows of Justice and say, 'I wish I could shop there,'" Huffington Post blogger Martie Todd Sirois wrote on Facebook, adding, "But we never went in." Justice specializes in teen and tween girls' fashions.
Her son doesn't identify as a girl, but had enjoyed wearing clothes from the girls' department of other stores, she explains in her open letter. She said she was wary of taking her son to shop there, following the passing of a law often referred to as HB2 in North Carolina that bans transgender people from using public restrooms that align with their gender identity. After speaking with an online support group, another mother reached out to the store to see whether Justice would allow a boy to try on clothes.
"The store manager assured her that 'everyone is welcome at Justice,' and any rudeness or discrimination from fellow customers would not be tolerated," Sirois wrote on Facebook.
Sirois and her son visited the store, and were helped by a store manager.
"Once that first outfit was on, he posed and admired himself in the mirror, spun around in circles to see the skirt poof out, and studied himself from all angles in every possible combination of outfits," Sirois wrote.
"I rarely get to see my son being his full potential, his absolute true self in public. [The store manager] encouraged that and even helped bring it out," she added.
In an interview with Newsday, Sirois said the passing of the state's HB2 legislation has further complicated her son's situation although he "is not transgender (at least not right now)."
"I have to call ahead to certain stores to make sure they're open to providing traditional 'girl' services to a gender non-conforming boy," she said. "Because they'd be protected under law to discriminate against us, if they so chose to fight that battle."
Sirois and her son ended their trip by taking photos of his new outfits, and a picture by Justice's store window that read "Just for girls."
She wrote, "He was clutching his 2 bags of new clothes, standing beside those words, and challenging the notion of 'Just for girls."