Company issues official statement titled “Continuing to Stand for Inclusivity”
As states and school districts across the country in GOP controlled legislatures grapple with laws and ordinances stipulating transgender bathroom – among other legalized discrimination under the guise of “Religious Liberty,” – one multinational retail giant is standing in solidarity against bigotry and prejudicial policies.
In a statement on its company website Tuesday, Target affirmed their commitment to equality and equity.”
“We believe that everyone – every team member, every guest, and every community – deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the Federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.”
The statement goes onto further clarify that “In our stores we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. 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.”
“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.”
Target’s public affirmation of their commitment to LGBT rights comes as a direct response to the so-called “bathroom bill,” officially known as House Bill 2 (HB2), signed into law late March by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, which officially blocked local governments throughout the state from passing non-discrimination measures based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The most contentious piece of the legislation required transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender listed on their birth certificate, which was widely speculated to have been encouraged by McRory as an attack on the city of Charlotte passing legislation protecting the rights of trans and gender non-conforming peoples to freely relieve themselves where they feel most comfortable.
In the wake of HB2, several other states – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri, to name a few – have all passed legislation legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons under the pretense of “religious liberty.”
Target’s announcement immediately drew comparisons from a communications perspective to the official statement released by PayPal earlier this month, where the global currency exchange giant proudly announced that it would be abandoning plans to build a global operations center in Charlotte – creating 250+ skilled jobs in the process – in the city of Charlotte due to its bigoted legislation.
Target’s announcement, while not nearly as direct in its financial flexing as PayPal’s, nonetheless shows the impact morally responsible private institutions can and should be playing in the fight towards equality for LGBT persons.
It is especially pertinent, as they specifically aforementioned, because a law like HB2 involves restroom facilities at their locations statewide, and, as Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune at Target Headquarters in Minneapolis, the company is choosing to be “very overt in stating” that this was not about a new policy, but emphatically affirming a commitment to the preexisting community it has always promoted.
It is the hope from those within the Target organization that this will encourage other corporations to stand in solidarity as well.
“Target being more proactive about it could very well open – or force – the dialogue,” said Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant with the company, “Anytime a retailer takes a more vocal stance, the microphone goes in front of all of the others.”
Well done, Target.
Let’s hope others continue to follow.