Target has announced that after listening to their customer base and carefully reviewing the newly announced chain-wide policy regarding transgender customers using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, they have decided to temporarily reverse the policy until they can find a new solution that ensures all of their guests are comfortable while using the restroom.
The recent controversy surrounding Target was set in motion on Tuesday April 19th when they released the following statement confirming a new policy about customers and bathrooms:
“Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity. So earlier this week, we reiterated with our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests.
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.
We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our 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.
Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”
The organization that undoubtedly had the most impact in pressuring Target to reverse their policy surrounding restrooms was the American Family Association who utilized their website and social media platforms to encourage Target patrons to sign a pledge agreeing to boycott Target stores. According to the American Family Association, Target’s new store policy endangers women and children by allowing men to frequent women’s facilities. At the time of this article, the American Family Association’s petition has received 324,334 signatures. Several public figures including politicians have also publicly spoken out in opposition of Target’s policy.
Target spokesperson Jeremy Clarke released the following statement on Saturday April 23rd, “Our goal has always been to create an environment that is inclusive and comfortable for all of our guests. We did not previously understand the magnitude of our decision and could not foresee the large population of guests that could potentially be placed in an uncomfortable position by the policy. We will be working diligently to implement a new policy that is amicable for all guests. We have discussed creating a third restroom option for our unisex or LGBT guests.”
According to Clarke, properly addressing this issue has become a top priority and Target executives expect to have a resolution by the end of 2016.