October 31st, 2014

‘It was like I was a circus freak show’

NewsBy Alan Sherry
UPSET: Trans woman was abused
UPSET: Trans woman was abused

ANOTHER transgender woman has come forward to say she was bullied by staff at a Limerick branch of Tesco.

The Sunday World revealed last week that a small number of employees of the supermarket in Arthur’s Quay in Limerick were secretly recording customers in the store and posting their pictures online to mock them. 

Tesco launched an immediate investigation into the revelation and said “appropriate action will be taken”.

The ringleader of the online abuse was Ger Clancy, who picked on a transgender person who shopped in the store. He followed the man around and photographed and videoed him a number of times. 

He also posted racist comments about Roma people and people with mental health issues. 

Clancy’s mother Majella Butterfield defended him during the week by saying “he didn’t murder or rape anyone”. 

The Red Ribbon Project, a charity working with gay, lesbian and transgender (trans) people, has now said the incident is “indicative of a much wider problem”.

Spokesman Cillian Flynn said: “Many of our trans group members have experienced difficulties in Tesco and in Arthur’s Quay.

We have had multiple reports of discriminatory and disrespectful behaviour and we know of at least one person who is taking legal action.”

Cillian said trans people have been thrown out of the shop, asked to be “less obvious”, refused entry into toilets and treated with disdain.

Karen, a trans woman from Limerick, said she had to stop using Arthur’s Quay centre two months ago.

“When I went in I was treated as if I was a circus freak show, used for voyeuristic pleasures,”said Karen.

“Members of staff refused to use the term ‘she’ to describe me in conversation and I have definitely heard a male member of staff refer to me as a ‘tranny’. 

“I am belittled and frequently joked about, sometimes to my face. When they talk to me they comment upon me in a way that makes me feel less than human, less than equal.”

The Sunday World attempted to contact Clancy and his mother but neither responded. 

Tesco Ireland have given no update on the status of their investigation.

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