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Montreal Walmart hit with complaint after transgender customer grilled over bathroom use

A customer of a Walmart in Montreal is filing a discrimination complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission and calling on the retailer to ensure trans shoppers can use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in.

Seth Day says he was publicly berated by an employee at a Walmart located at 5400 Jean-Talon West last week after he used the store's washroom.

"It was really traumatic and stressful, being treated so unkindly," said Day, who is transgender and uses "he" and "they" pronouns. 

"For me, that means that I don't identify as a man or woman, sort of somewhere in between. And in terms of expression, I have a beard, but I also a dress very feminine," he explained.

He says that also means he doesn't always use the same bathroom. On Aug. 25, while shopping for groceries he needed to use the facilities and headed for the women's door.

Shortly after he emerged and resumed shopping, an employee confronted him and asked, Day said, to tell him his sex. The employee, who Day said was described as an assistant manager by other staff members, also informed him that he couldn't use the bathroom because it was making others feel uncomfortable.

"To which I responded that there was no gender-neutral bathroom or family bathroom. ... What bathroom am I supposed to use, then? What about my comfort as a client?" he said.

He considered abandoning his groceries but went to find a general manager instead, who he said apologized for what had happened.

Day said he couldn't get a clear answer about what would be done to keep other trans shoppers from having similar experiences.CTV asked Walmart Canada about the incident and, in a brief statement, a company spokesperson said that respect for the individual is one of the company's core values.

"We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our associates and our customers. We take matters of this nature very seriously and are looking into this customer’s experience," wrote Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs, Stephanie Fusco.

Day hopes his story will push retailers to train employees about gender identity and expression.

"Imagine you were just going to the bathroom and someone was asking what genitals you had. That's so wild when you frame it like that, but I feel like it's dehumanizing, right?" he said.

"When you're doing things like that to trans people, it's acting like trans people are less than, if you wouldn't do that to someone else," said Day.


"That definitely should never happen to anyone anywhere," said James Galantino, director of the LGBT Quebec Council, an organization that brings together more than 70 community groups.

"Discrimination based on gender identity or expression is prohibited by the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act," he said.

The law is clear in stating that everyone's gender identity and expression has to be respected, "and that gives access to a trans person to use the bathroom they're comfortable to use, " said Galantino.

"Trans and non-binary people have a very, very common basic need and that is to pee -- to pee in peace just like everyone else," Galantino said. Top Stories

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