Target Raises Its Voice for Trans Customers

Retailer Target has said that trans customers are welcome in its stores and free to use the facilities with which they feel comfortable.

In a statement released on April 19, the company made a formal announcement about its long-standing LGBT-inclusive policies — and specifically, its practice of welcoming trans shoppers.

“We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” reads the statement.

While reiterating the company’s support for the federal Equality Act, Target goes on to say, “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. [...] Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”

Target’s record on LGBT relations hasn’t always been great, however.

While Target has maintained friendly and inclusive store and employment policies — which over the years have evolved to explicitly include LGBT rights — the company faced serious backlash in 2010 when details emerged that the company had contributed to a group backing a virulently anti-LGBT politician.

Target later apologized for this contribution, but LGBT advocates raised concerns again in 2013, claiming that the company continues to financially back anti-LGBT politicians.

Target isn’t alone in this practice. Well known LGBT-friendly companies like Facebook have supported discriminatory politicians in their own financial interests.

But Target’s recent statement has a wider positive significance.

A flood of anti-LGBT – and specifically anti-trans – legislation has swept across the United States this year. To justify the bills, religious conservative politicians have focused on perpetuating the myth that trans-friendly policies increase rates of sexual assault.

That just isn’t true, and Target’s stance on this issue serves as a political statement against those actions.

The company’s stance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Right, however. Within days of Target’s announcement, the anti-LGBT American Family Association has launched a call to boycott Target.

The anti-trans rhetoric on the AFA’s  website is blatant:

“The American Family Association is calling for a boycott of Target after the retail giant said it would allow men to use the women’s restrooms and dressing rooms in their stores,” the site states, though Target has said nothing of the sort.

The AFA goes on to say, “This means a man can simply say he ‘feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom…even if young girls or women are already in there. Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?”

It’s worth reiterating that research shows trans-inclusive policies do not lead to sexual assaults. That’s because there are already laws in place to deal with people who violate another person’s privacy. All trans accommodations laws and policies do is provide trans people with protection and the right to use the facilities that accord with their gender.

Religious conservative boycotts rarely succeed, and there’s little indication that Target is in danger of caving on this issue. And there’s a more immediate issue at stake.

The Minneapolis-based company’s statement comes as Minnesota’s legislature deals with its own Republican-backed anti-trans bill. The legislation would mandate that people use facilities based only on their birth assigned sex.

Target’s LGBT-inclusive statement shows one of Minnesota’s flagship brands rejecting anti-trans policies, a major step that could help in the battle against the state’s discriminatory bill.

Take action!

Sign the petition to show that you stand with Target’s inclusive policies.

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

107 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Habout a year ago

I will NOT be shopping at Target until they change this policy! This includes Target.com too. I don't go there a lot but do shop there.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Lori E.
Lori E1 years ago

Signed!

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Karen H.
Karen H1 years ago

Boycotting is one thing, being stupid and breaking the law is something entirely different. Target boycott leaders are waaaay out there. One pastor told his flock to urinate on the floor. One politician told women to carry a gun into the restroom to protect themselves. One religious group has men going into ladies' rooms just to prove they can. It would be interesting to see what happens if one of those religious men going into the restroom meets a woman with a gun. I'd love to see that headline!

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S1 years ago

noted

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Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

If there is a lock on the bathroom door, what's the issue?

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Karen H.
Karen H1 years ago

The boycotters say they're standing up for their faith. How about standing up for our planet? PepsiCo's use of conflict palm oil is destroying the habitat of endangered elephants and orangutans. It's also responsible for forced labor. How many of these "righteous" people are boycotting PepsiCo? Elephants and orangs are more important to me than who's using which bathroom.

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Timothy W.
Timothy W1 years ago

Elaine W.
The good news is that few of those 500,000 who signed will follow through with their vows and threats associated with the petition. Much as they wont follow through on their promises made in the name of their faith.

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S1 years ago

yesterday signed

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Karen H.
Karen H1 years ago

This past weekend I attended a local LGBT event, and I'll bet the majority of the cis-gender folks couldn't tell who was transgender. J Wells is right that the "uber-dude with all the muscles and heavy beard ... might just have been born with a vagina." Freddy, how many sexual predators would think of dressing like women and going into ladies' rooms if the Religious Right hadn't given them the idea? David P, what's the difference between "companies forcing their social views on others" and boycotters forcing their religious views on others? Mina X, I saw a sign outside a church today that you might like: "If you spend all your time judging, you'll have no time to love". Bravo, Marianne C. A gazillion stars to you! Sorry, Robin, they won't let me give you more stars. Those who are boycotting Target are certainly NOT following Jesus' teachings.

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