Target: Customers Can Use Fitting Rooms, Bathrooms That Reflect Their Gender Identity

Image courtesy of Lori Whelan

While some states and cities consider rules regarding who can or can’t use which public restrooms, Target has confirmed that its policy is that customers can use whichever fitting room or restroom best reflects their gender identity.

In a statement posted on its website, the Minnesota-based retailer announced that it had reiterated its commitment to “equity and equity” with team members at stores around the county.

“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target,” the company said. “It’s something we celebrate. 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.”

The company says that it regularly assesses issues and considers many factors such as impact to business, guests, and employees before publicly stating a position on issues.

But given the questions that began to swirling regarding the company’s management of fitting rooms and restrooms, Target says, it “felt it was important to state our position.”

“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,” Target said in the statement. “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”

A spokesperson for the retailer tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Tuesday’s announcement was simply a restatement of a current policy, not a change for the company.

“It’s just us being very overt in stating it,” the spokesperson said.

Target’s stance comes as a state lawmaker recently proposed a bill that would restrict access to restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms based on the “biological sex” of individuals.

The Star Tribune reports that the measure was discussed in a hearing last week, but faces long odds. Additionally, if it is passed it would likely be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, who previously directed state employees to “cease all nonessential state business travel to North Carolina until further notice.”

Retail analysts say that Target’s announcement appears to be the first from a major retailer related to restroom policies.

“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.”