Target makes a big move following furor over the company's transgender bathroom policy

Posted August 28, 2016

Target, a popular retail chain, has announced it will spend $20 million in the coming months to add single-stall bathrooms to hundreds of its stores -- a move that comes following furor over the chain's transgender bathroom stance. (Deseret Photo)

Target, a popular retail chain, has announced it will spend $20 million in the coming months to add single-stall bathrooms to hundreds of its stores — a move that comes following furor over the store chain's transgender bathroom stance.

The company announced in April — amid debate over North Carolina's law requiring people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex — that transgender patrons would, instead, be allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds with their self-described gender.

"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways," a company blog post read at the time. "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."

Debate immediately ensued and, months later, Target is emphasizing an alternative option: private bathrooms.

"Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy, and some are supportive," Cathy Smith, chief financial officer of Target, told reporters during a Wednesday conference call, according to NPR.

Single-stall bathrooms are reportedly already available in 1,400 of the company's 1,800 stores, with Target announcing it will outfit the remaining locations with private restrooms by 2017.

Company spokeswoman Katie Boylan told USA Today Target isn't altering its transgender bathroom policy, but the company has heard from both supporters and opponents and is "listening" to both sides.

"We get it," Boylan said. "Some like it, some don't."

The debate over Target's policy came in the form of intense protests and calls for boycotts from prominent conservative groups.

The American Family Association, a conservative activist group, was among those who rallied against Target's position, collecting more than 1.4 million signatures and urging people to boycott the retailer; others followed suit.

"Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims," the American Family Association's petition reads, in part. "And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?"

The bathroom announcement was made as Smith also spoke about Target's decreased quarterly earnings. Sales were down 7.2 percent, and traffic to the company's stores declined — the first decrease in nearly two years, according to The Washington Post.

The company didn't necessarily blame its sales woes on the transgender bathroom debate, though, saying electronics sales were down, and grocery departments need to be improved.

That said, there is reportedly a sense among executives of a definite need to attract the audience that was turned off by the initial bathroom policy, The Washington Post explained.

As Deseret News National has noted, Target is hardly the first store to enter the transgender debate, with a longtime Macy's employee claiming he was recently fired for questioning the store's transgender policy.

In a separate incident in 2011, another Macy's employee was reportedly fired for refusing to allow a biological male who identified as a female to use the lady's dressing room.

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  • Sam Nada Aug 29, 2016
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    You do realize who will be paying extra, right? You and those who can least afford it. And for what? Protection from some folks imagined threat? How is that a win?

  • Judy Loftin Aug 29, 2016
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    Target has lost millions in the boycott. It worked, thank you all who participated!!!

  • Mike Jones Aug 29, 2016
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    Got any "real" facts to back up your rant, hon?

  • Matt Clinton Aug 28, 2016
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    --"We get it," Boylan said. "Some like it, some don't."--

    No, you really don't, hon. You don't get it at all. It's not about likes or dislikes. It's about the safety of those who can't defend themselves. And statistics show that there are more known sex offenders in the U.S. than there are transgenders. So, if you go strictly by the numbers, the odds are actually higher that a woman or child will encounter a known or unknown sex offender in Target than a transgender person. This law only serves to increase risk, and does essentially nothing to assist a group that barely even exists.

  • Morgan Fleming Aug 28, 2016
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    I was at Crossroads in Cary which has two, sex seperate.

  • Sue Angelo Aug 28, 2016
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    Every Target I have ever been in (probably close to 50) has one unisex dressing room. I'm wondering which one you think has gender-specific dressing rooms? I have been to most, if not all, in the Triangle and they're all unisex.

  • Glenda Hightower Aug 28, 2016
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    The women's bathrooms always had single stall with doors. Apparently, you never went into one. Ever had anyone peek into your stall if you did? No, didn't think so. Anyway, not a Target shopper much myself but for all the folks who do, the silliness caused by the republican majority legislature is going to make their prices go up -- up.

  • Pei Nisiniu Aug 28, 2016
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    The American Family Association is one of the most important organizations of our time. No marriage is real unless it receives their endorsement. No interest between one person and another is legitimate unless it satisfies their 100 point questionnaire, which they formulated using their imagination of what the bible might have said had it been written today.

  • Gia Momoa Aug 28, 2016
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    Great now their prices are going to skyrocket. I'm so sick of these weirdos throwing temper tantrums every time they don't get their way.

  • Tina Butler Aug 28, 2016
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    Ok. So does this mean Target is finally coming to their senses❓❓‼️‼️ Very happy they are taking note to their formally loyal customers. Those of us who have continued to boycott this company mean business. Will watch closely to see how this shakes out.
    No men in woman's bathrooms PERIOD.