Target Strikes Back at North Carolina Bathroom Law

Target

Target is taking a stand against North Carolina’s transphobic bathroom bill, saying its customers and employees can use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The company announced the policy on its corporate website today, saying, “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate.”

The department store chain even proclaimed its support for the Equality Act that is proposed in Congress. 

“We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” the company said in its statement. “Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.”

The bill would revise the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, making it illegal to discriminate in hiring, housing, and more. The Equality Act is supported by President Obama and the two Democrats running to replace him, but it is stalled in a Republican-led Congress.

It’s the polar opposite of what North Carolina lawmakers passed in House Bill 2, which banned local governments from including sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-discrimination ordinances. The law also specifically targeted transgender people, who it requires to use the public bathroom and locker room facilities that don’t match their gender identity.

Obviously, Target's bathrooms aren't the kind of "public" bathrooms that the law takes aim at — the law applies only to government buildings, not the private sector but the statement is still seen as a rebuke of lawmakers.

Target has come a long way from the days when LGBT activists had threatened a boycott of the company in 2010. The Human Rights Campaign had once even dropped the chain from its annual buyer’s guide. That’s when Target’s political donations ended up supporting an antigay candidate for governor in Minnesota, where it’s based. 

Now Target not only sells products that celebrate LGBT people and touts the launch of a gender-neutral kids’ collection, it’s speaking out in defense of LGBT people in the political sphere.

“We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members,” the company explained about why it’s speaking out. “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.”

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