Target said transgender employees and shoppers in its store were welcome to use the restroom and dressing rooms that matches their gender identity. It is the first announcement of its type from a major U.S. retailer, although it did set off a firestorm of controversy.
“It’s too bad that Target had to make such a drastic decision so as to accommodate .03 percent of our population. I, and others I’m sure, will no longer feel welcomed or respected at Target because of this decision, and will no longer receive my money or support. Goodbye, Target,” one customer said. Others praised the company for its announcement, Syracuse Post-Standard reports.
“Proud of you Target! Good move, a great example to other corporations out there. I hope more follow suit,” another customer said.
The Minneapolis-based retailer said the decision, which comes after several states passed laws seen as restrictive to LGBT rights, reflects Target’s corporate viewpoint, the New York Daily News noted.
“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day,” the company said in statement.
State legislatures around the U.S. have in recent months debated proposals that would force individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate.
The governor of North Carolina signed such a bill in late March. Mississippi has passed a related law that critics say allows discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
In Minnesota, where Target is headquartered, a Republican state senator has proposed a bill that would restrict access to restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms based on the “biological sex” of individuals, MLive reported. Many major corporations are fighting against the “bathroom laws,” saying they discriminate against both employees and customers.
In a statement, Target (TGT) said that it had considered how the legislation could affect its business, guests and team members. “Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position,” the company said.
Cosmopolitan Magazine said that while people are boycotting the retailer for the wrong reason, some misinformation about its policy has also been circulating. Some websites reported that the retailer released the statement under pressure from the President and LGBT groups.
However, no information was found to backup the claim that Target was pressured to institute the chain-wide policy, and no retailers of a similar size and scope have reported any organized push to enact similar policies. While HB2 is an enforceable law, Target’s bathroom policy is simply a brand’s policy decision based on its own ethics and belief structure.