A female clothing and accessories store in Cross Roads, St Andrew has been denying entry to potential customers on the premise of them merely being male.
An upset Lemuel Reid visited the Jamaica Observer on Friday to share his ordeal, which he says is his first time experiencing or hearing of discrimination in this form — being turned back from a store for being male.
Reid told the Sunday Observer that he was hunting a gift for his female friend when he decided to stop at Rose’s Couture. The store, he noted, is one that his friend had shopped at before so he knew they would have something she might like.
However, to his dismay, no one inside the boutique would allow him in. Reid recounted that while approaching the store he saw people leaving, but on reaching the door, a male security guard signalled to a female attendant then pointed towards him.
The security guard, he said, opened the door and informed him that he would not be let in.
Not sure of what was happening, Reid said that he kept trying to enter the boutique.
“I wanted to go in and I said ‘It’s open! It’s open!” he recalled, adding that the people inside gesticulated with their hands, telling him no.
“I asked if it was closed and the lady said ‘yes’ and I said ‘It’s open’ and that was when she came and told me that she was not going to let me in.”
When contacted, a woman who identified herself as Rose, the store owner, confirmed that the establishment did not allow males into the store unless they were known to her.
“No, we don’t allow male customers in. If we don’t know them, we don’t let them in.” When asked why, she firmly replied: “Because that’s my policy. Mi nuh know who a who.”
The Sunday Observer was unable to confirm whether or not this was a security measure.
The experience has left Reid feeling offended and discriminated against.
“I feel violated, I feel like I was judged and that makes me upset,” he said, adding that “It’s kinda disappointing because it wasn’t communicated properly either; other than that I feel discriminated against.”
Admitting that a sign stating that men weren’t allowed in the store would still not have made the matter right, Reid said: “If there was a sign, I would have felt better. There was no sign and what made it worse nobody came. You see the ‘open’ sign but everybody is saying no.”