A non-binary shopper said they felt 'dehumanised' and accused a fashion brand of being 'transphobic' after they were refused entry to a women's changing room.

Giorgio Firico, 21, tried to go to the ladies changing room at Zara in Oxford when the female assistant told them it was against the rules and refused to give them a number for the clothing.

Giorgio, who studies in the US and is in Oxford visiting a friend, said: “I was wearing men’s clothing but I had two gowns on my shoulder, it was obvious what I wanted to try on.

“At first I was shocked and I went away. Then I thought for one second, it’s my right. I do not identify myself as a man, I have a right to be there. I went back and explained clearly, I am non-binary, I am not a man.

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"She kept saying it’s against the rules. But I said, I do not think you know my gender identity better than me."

Giorgio walked past the shop assistant and into the ladies dressing room next to their friend Anna where they closed the curtain and tried on the clothes.

Giorgio said: “Afterwards I went out and said you should be ashamed of the way you have dehumanized me especially as the shop does not have a gender neutral changing room.

“Afterwards the manager was nice and said they were sorry. But then I went home and looked on the internet and I saw many examples of complaints of transphobic behaviour at Zara shops.

"This is a global company. If this is their policy then it’s like they have two faces."

Anna’s mother, Susanna Perutz, said: “There were a couple of people standing behind us waiting to take a number for their clothes who witnessed it all, which was even more embarrassing for Giorgio.”

She said she walked into the fitting room and stood outside Giorgio’s curtain, to make sure they were OK and so that the dressing assistant would not bother them.

She said the changing room assistant ‘rolled her eyes’ when they came out.

Mrs Perutz added: “Giorgio then told her that she should not raise her voice at people or be so rude and asked to speak with the manager. The assistant smiled, according to Giorgio, as if she knew nothing would happen.

“I’m just a middle aged Oxford mum, but witnessing this I really felt uncomfortable. 

“It was just really unpleasant. And in a young student city like Oxford.

“And Urban Outfitters, just a few shops away, has gender neutral changing rooms.”

Zara has been contacted for response, but had not responded by the time we went to press.