In defiance of a recent wave of anti-transgender proposals in state legislatures across the nation, Target announced Tuesday that its transgender employees and customers are "welcome" to use the bathroom or fitting room facility that best aligns with their gender identity.
"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target," the company said in a statement. "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."
Target, the second largest discount retailer in the nation, says it reiterated its position on equality in response to the debate surrounding several recently passed measures that discriminate against transgender people. The company also emailed its position on the issue to its stores earlier this week, the Star Tribune reported.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, religious conservatives have introduced more than 100 proposed laws across the nation that authorize legal discrimination against LGBT people. Last month, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a law banning cities from passing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. A new law in Mississippi passed this month lets any person or business deny services to same-sex couples because of religious objections. And just last week, Tennessee legislators passed a bill that could jeopardize access to mental health treatment for LGBT individuals.
This isn't a new position for Target. Last year the company announced support for the federal Equality Act, which, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, banning discrimination in employment, housing, education, access to credit and more. The company also received high praise, as well as some outrage, over its decision last year to stop labeling toys and bedding departments either for "boys" or "girls."
"We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally," the company said in its Tuesday announcement. "Everyone deserves to feel like they belong."