The Target retail chain says it wants its staff and customers to know that they are welcome to use the store restrooms and fitting rooms that correspond to whatever sex they believe themselves to be.
The chain's announcement comes in the wake of North Carolina's decision to pass a law that says people are only allowed to use restrooms which correspond to their sex at birth. Proponents of the so-called "bathroom laws" believe they are needed to keep potential sexual predators out of the bathrooms of the opposite sex.
The American Family Association has announced a boycott of Target. Thousands have already signed an online petition on the group's website. Read more...
But earlier this week, a federal appeals court struck down such a bathroom restriction policy for a Virginia school district. The judges said it violated Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools.
That's the message the retail giant appears to be sending with a new statement on its website that ostensibly takes aim at those bathroom laws that seek to restrict men's and women's bathrooms to the sex listed on a person's birth certificate.
"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways," the statement said. "Most relevant for the conversations currently under way, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."
Target's policy is not new, but is simply a more pronounced "restatement" of an existing corporate rule, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The bathroom question turned into a national debate after North Carolina enacted legislation in March to restrict who could and could not use men's and women's bathrooms. Opponents say it's insensitive to transgender people, who don't identify with the gender on their birth certificate.