Nothing is new at Target, but on Tuesday, the company issued a reminder that it welcomes transgender customers to use the restrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity.
“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate,” the company said in a statement. “We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.”
Acknowledging the anti-LGBT laws advancing in states like North Carolina and reiterating its support for the Equality Act, which would create nationwide LGBT nondiscrimination protections, Target assured, “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.”
Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for the company, told the Star Tribune that this not a change, but they felt it important to join the national conversation. “It’s a restatement of a policy,” she said. “It’s just us being very overt in stating it.”
This is the latest from a company that just six years ago was weathering a boycott from LGBT activists over its political donations. Target endured a severe backlash after donating $150,000 in 2010 to MN Forward, a fund that was supporting the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emmer, an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights. Then-CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized for the donation, promising to “take a leadership role” in promoting corporate diversity and inclusion. In 2013, however, Target was still supporting anti-LGBT candidates, donating $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association, which was heavily supporting the campaigns of Ken Cuccinelli (R) in Virginia and Chris Christie (R) in New Jersey, among other anti-LGBT candidates.
Target has nevertheless made strides toward embracing the LGBT community. A month after the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in 2012, Target ran national ads welcoming same-sex couples to choose the store for their wedding registries. They have also regularly embraced Pride Month celebrations, selling various rainbow-themed items and apparel every year. The company also recently stopped separating its toys and bedding into “boys” and “girls” categories.
By joining companies like PayPal and others resisting laws that target the LGBT community and transgender people in particular, Target is taking a leadership role that’s a far cry from apologizing for its anti-LGBT giving.