Target Corp. has announced that it will continue to allow transgender customers and employees to use the bathrooms and fitting rooms of their preference.
"We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” Target wrote in a statement released on its corporate website Tuesday. “Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.”
The federal Equality Act mentioned in Tuesday’s statement was presented to Congress in July 2015. If passed, the bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.”
Target signed on in support of that bill in September, calling it an “important milestone” in the effort to advance its core belief of “inclusivity.”
The nationwide legal dispute over sexual biology versus sexual orientation when it comes to sex-specific bathrooms came up again after North Carolina passed HB2 last month. The controversial bill, also called the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, or simply, the "bathroom bill," made it illegal for cities to expand upon state laws in order to allow transgender people to use public restrooms based on anything other than their biological sex.
The bill provoked significant backlash, leading many businesses to boycott the state for its “discrimination.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently invoked the civil rights battles of past generations when discussing states that passed or are considering passing laws similar to HB2, saying, “This is a good illustration that the fight for civil rights is not over.”
Target’s stance on the issue should come as no surprise, given that the retail giant has long supported the LGBT community and agenda.
In June, the company introduced its “Pride Manifesto,” stating its commitment to promoting inclusivity and “taking pride in who we were all born to be.”
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Star Tribune Tuesday that the company statement is more like a restatement of its values in light of questions it has received from customers and employees regarding HB2 and its implications.
"It's a restatement of a policy," she said. "It's just us being very overt in stating it."
"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways,” the company added Tuesday. “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.”