A mother’s furious response to the treatment of her child by a Jo-Ann Fabrics employee went viral this week, ending with the worker being fired.
“I hope parents will learn how important it is to stand up for their children,” Piper Gartner told Phillips. Pleasemynews.
Phillips, a seamstress in Pullman, Washington, said her 7-year-old son, Hugo, has developed an affinity for wearing dresses. Hugo has autism and has shown signs of being gay, according to Phillips. After being bullied at school, she decided to cheer him up by making him a new dress. The couple went to a Jo-Ann Fabrics store.
Phillips described what happened next in a TikTok video on Thursday, quickly racking up more than 4 million views.
“We’re making a Spider-Man dress,” Phillips said. “He has already chosen the fabric and he wants to get blue fabric for the sleeves.”
When they brought their item to the counter, Phillips recognized the employee who was cutting fabrics. She explained that she used to work in this store.
“When I was a manager there, she used to argue with managers and say really inappropriate things to customers and employees about LGBTQ issues and religious issues,” Phillips said.
The employee asked what they were making, to which Hugo replied, “A Spider-Man dress.”
Phillips said the worker seemed confused. She asked if he meant “a shirt and pants,” then asked if the dress was meant to be a “suit.”
“She looks at me and says, ‘He can’t wear a dress,'” Phillips recalled. “And then she looks at him and says, ‘Dresses are for girls. “”
“Mother’s blood was boiling,” she told millions of TikTok viewers. She planned to boycott Jo-Ann Stores until the employee was fired.
After his video went viral and the internet flocked to Hugo’s defense, Phillips got his wish.
A spokesperson for Jo-Ann Stores said Pleasemynews“As soon as we saw the video on TikTok, we launched an internal investigation and contacted Piper. After speaking with other team members who witnessed the interaction and after following our HR process in good and due process, we have determined that the team member should be terminated immediately.”
Phillips said: “I was shocked and thrilled it ended like this. Jo-Ann really stepped up and proved they believe in their policies. I feel safe bringing my son to any Jo-Ann store now.”
Although a growing proportion of Americans say they are comfortable with their children coming out, acceptance of transgender and non-binary children lags behind that of other queer identities.
In a March 2022 survey by The Trevor Project, 62% of American adults said they would be comfortable with their children coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Comparatively, 50% said they would be comfortable if their child came out as transgender or non-binary.
Even as social changes usher in more progressive views and policies related to sexual orientation and gender in some communities, parent-child relationships remain one of the best predictors of adjustment among LGBTQ youth, study finds from the Journal of Adolescent Research.