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Dad labelled "dirty old man" after taking his baby to a shopping centre parents' room.

“There’s a dirty old man in the parents’ room,” a woman told her friend after taking her son to the toilet in the parent’s room of Mackay’s Caneland Central shopping centre on Sunday.

That “dirty old man” was Damien Leeson, father to a seven-week-old baby. He’d gone into the parent’s room to feed his newborn daughter where he was abused by the woman who told Leeson it was “disgusting to see a full grown man in a parents’ room with a little girl”.

It didn’t stop there.

She called him a “dirty old (expletive)”. Then, upon exiting the change-room, told her waiting girlfriend Leeson was a “dirty old man”. The friend replied saying “that’s f**ked up’.”

Leeson was upset and shocked by the exchange.

“I’m quite a hands-on dad, dirty nappies, feeding, anything I can do,” he told the Daily Mercury. “My wife was there too and we just looked at each other in shock. I was doing the right thing.”

Damien and Melissa Leeson and his family. Image via Facebook.
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He also found he was not alone. He posted the story to Facebook and was inundated with comments from men who've experienced the same abuse.

"I had heaps of other dads comment, saying 'that's normal mate', 'get used to it' and that they get dirty looks and comments all the time," he said.

"I just posted for myself to see if any other males I knew had been through the same thing, but to then see so many other dads share similar encounters - it was disturbing really."

Dad advice:I Don’t Have Time to Hand-Make Presents For Your Baby.

Another father, Jeremy Phillips, shared his experience with the media.

"I often get strange looks as if I've walked into the wrong toilet or something, it's not a nice feeling when you know you have every right to be there too," Mr Phillips said. "My brother was called a 'perv' once for being in there as a woman tried to breastfeed. It's not everyone saying it but it shouldn't happen at all."

Thankfully, many women have also spoken out in support of Leeson, including Amy Marks who told media Leeson deserved a "pat on the back".

"Good on him for actually giving a hand to his wife and not being afraid to touch a dirty nappy or help out with the feeding; most wives would kill for a husband like that," she said. "It's called a 'parents' room' for a reason, it's not a 'mum's room'. I would have given him a pat on the back for being the only dad in there among so many women."

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