The new Target bathroom policy has been the topic of a lot of contentious discussion and debate over the last week or so. More than half a million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target since the store announced that it will allow customers to use the bathroom they are most comfortable using, regardless of their birth gender.
Target’s new bathroom policy was developed to protect LGBT employees and guests from bathroom discrimination, and largely appeared to be in response to anti-LGBT bills in Mississippi and North Carolina, which require transgender individuals to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the bathroom on their birth certificates. Like Target, which has been targeted by a growing boycott over its new bathroom policy, North Carolina has also been targeted in a widespread boycott of the entire state.
Those who disagree with Target’s new bathroom policy believe that allowing men in the women’s restroom (and vice versa) could potentially put women and children at risk of sexual assault. Those in favor of it, including the store’s corporate officials, believe that allowing employees and guests to use the restroom of their choosing protects LGBT rights and prevents anti-LGBT discrimination.
“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.
“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.”
At the end of last week, a Target customer by the name of Andy Park decided to test the new Target bathroom policy. Wearing a hidden camera, Park visited a Florida Target location. As RedState reports, the male customer asked an employee if it was okay if he used the Target’s women’s bathroom because he’s uncomfortable using the men’s room. The Target employee, a security employee by named “Gerard” responds, “Yes, you can.” Further, the Target employee tells Andy Park that if any female guests have a problem with him being in the women’s bathroom, they can take it up with management. Check it out.
During the hidden camera encounter at Target, Park states on Facebook that he “walked in wearing men’s clothing and with two days of beard stubble.” This is verified in the video above, when you catch a glimpse of Park’s reflection.
When the Target store was contacted about the secretly-recorded video, the store confirmed that the employee shown in the video was the person on duty at the time the video was shot, and that he is still employed in the same position as before since the video was released on social media, despite public outcry.
Media queries to Target about the video and its relationship to the chain’s new bathroom policy were initially directed to Target’s media relations phone number and sent to voicemail. However, on April 25, Target did respond to media requests for comment on the video.
RedState reports that Target is standing behind its new bathroom policy and the employee featured in the video above for adhering to it.
“Thanks for reaching out.
“We certainly respect that there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work — and our guests an inclusive place to shop – we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target.
According to RedState, it’s not difficult to interpret what Target means by way of this response to the video of its new bathroom policy in action. Namely, that a man, who is dressed as a male and who doesn’t claim to be or to identify as a woman, is allowed, per Target’s new policy, to use the women’s room, so long as that’s where he says he feels most comfortable doing his business.
If women have a problem with a man in the restroom that they believed to be designated for female-use-only, it is apparently their responsibility to complain to management or security. The same Target management or security that told the man he could share the bathroom with them in the first place.
So, what do you think? Is Target doing the right thing with its new, more inclusive, bathroom policy? Does the new Target bathroom policy open the door for more problems in the future, or does it protect the LGBT community from discrimination?
[Photo by AP Photo/Lynne Sladky/File]