Metro Weekly

Target CEO to anti-trans boycotters: Our bathroom policy won’t change

Target won't change its policy despite 1.2 million people signing a petition to boycott

Brian Cornell, Credit: Target

Brian Cornell, Credit: Target

Amid threats of boycotts and legislative backlash from some municipalities, Target is defending supporting its transgender customers. Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC that allowing trans people to use the bathroom that best corresponds with their gender identity is just part of Target’s long history of “embracing diversity and inclusion.”

Target published a blog post — detailed here — defending its bathroom policy after North Carolina passed HB 2, a law that forces trans people to use a restroom that corresponds with their birth gender. That public stance has led to the American Family Association calling for a boycott of its stores, over the false fear that Target’s policy “would allow men to use the women’s restrooms and dressing rooms in their stores.”

“Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said, in a statement posted on their website. “And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?”

AFA have started a petition to boycott Target until it reverses its policy, stating: “We think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority.” It currently has over 1.2 million signatures.

AFA wants a unisex bathroom in every store, for trans customers or those who like using the bathroom alone. However, Cornell pointed out that in the rush to demonize Target, boycotters have forgotten one simple fact: such facilities already exist in most of Target’s stores. Family bathrooms, which are separate from male and female restrooms, are being rolled out to each of Target’s almost 1,800 locations.

We took a stance, and were going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion and just how important that is to our company,” Cornell said, adding: “We had a lot of tough feedback. But sitting here today, I know we made the right decision.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.