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Target: Customers welcome in fitting rooms, bathrooms corresponding with ‘gender identity’

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
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As states and school districts grapple with laws or allowances around transgender bathroom use, one retail giant has made its stance public.

In a statement on its company website Tuesday, Target declared its commitment to “equality and equity.”

“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target,” the statement said. “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.”

The discount retailer further explained: “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.”

The announcement appears to be a direct response to the controversial “bathroom bill” signed into law late March by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The legislation’s most contentious provision requires transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.

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Target is based in Minneapolis, where Gov. Mark Dayton directed state employees to “cease all nonessential state business travel to North Carolina until further notice” earlier this month.

While several large companies — Paypal, Apple and Google, to name a few — have condemned the North Carolina bill, Target may be the first major corporation to publicly outline its own bathroom policies.

Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Tuesday’s statement was not about a new policy. Rather, the company chose to be “very overt in stating it” in light of the current political climate.

This may encourage other corporations to show their hand as well.

“Target being more proactive about it could very well open — or force — the dialogue,” Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant, told the Star-Tribune. “Any time a retailer takes a more vocal stance, the microphone goes in front of all of the others.”

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Last August, Target transformed its toy section so that toys were no longer grouped together by gender. Previously, aisles were labeled for “Girls’ Toys” and “Boys’ Toys,” along with accompanying colored backdrops. As The Washington Post’s Jessica Contrera reported, the divisions provoked controversy online after an Ohio mom’s tweet showing signage for “Building Sets” versus “Girls’ Building Sets” went viral.

The company also applied similar changes to bedding departments.