A NATIONAL DIY store has apologised to a woman who says she was subjected to transphobic abuse in their Brighton shop.

Transgender Crystal Warren was placing an order at B&Q in Lewes Road, Brighton when she suffered what she described as "humiliating" abuse.

Crystal, 48, who lives in the North Laine and works as a character model said that she heard a female member of staff mutter "that's not a woman, it's a bloke" while she was being served.

Crystal said: "I was completely insulted in front of all the staff and customers. It was humiliating."

Describing the incident on Sunday, crystal said: "I went to B&Q because I was doing a bit of DIY and since I don't have a man around I have to do what I can on my own.

"One guy was being really helpful and we were having a good bit of banter. Then he sent me over to the checkout where there were three ladies. I was trying to arrange for my order to be delivered. Two of the ladies were being lovely then the third one said under her breath ' that's not a woman, It's a bloke. I immediately said ' I heard what you said' and she said 'I didn't say anything'.

"Everybody in the store heard and started looking at me.

"I said I wanted to speak to the manager, but when he came over he offered no apology and said he had no reason to doubt his staff.

"By calling the manager over I though he would at least look in to it, but he made his decision without even hearing what had happened."

Crystal, who has been a woman for more than 20 years, said the experience had a lasting effect on her confidence.

"I was absolutely disgusted.

"I don't generally out myself. I had a sex change 20 years ago. But after she said that everyone was sniggering.

"I had to get the bus home and I was shaking and really nervous. I kept glancing at my reflection and thinking people saw me as a man.

"When it comes to my work I'm completely open with people and tell them I'm transgender. I'm not ashamed of who I am.

"But for someone to talk to you in such a way is so upsetting.

"What kind of a world do we live in that someone can be so rude?

"As far as I'm aware I look like a woman. Now I've been left doubting myself."

A B&Q spokeswoman said: “We are aware of this incident and have issued our sincerest apologies to Ms Warren. At B&Q we embrace diversity, have a zero tolerance policy against discrimination and have thorough diversity training in place.

"The team at B&Q Brighton value and respect the diversity of colleagues and customers, and actively support the local community through many causes, such as regularly contributing paint and materials to build the fantastic Pride floats.”