Target announced on 19 April its new policy that would allow both customers and employees belonging to the transgender community to use restrooms that matches with their gender identity. However, the retailing giant is now facing mass protests from a US conservative group that has called for a boycott of its products.
The Christian conservative group American Family Association's (AMA) call for a Target boycott has reached a number of people. Over 285,000 people have signed AMA's petition, which demands that Target redraft its policy to be non-inclusive of the LGBT community.
Explaining its decision, Target said in a statement: "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. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you'll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target."
Criticising Target's policy as posing "a danger to wives and daughters", AMA president Tim Wildoman said, "Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?"
Twitter erupted to news of Target's new policy, with both supportive as well as discouraging tweets.
The transgender restroom controversy became a key issue in March when the US state of North Carolina became the first to pass a law that legally enforced transgender people to use only those bathrooms that corresponded with their biological rather than self-defined identity. People across the nation have weighed in on the argument, including politicians. Curiously, Target may have a supporter in US presidential candidate and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who said in a statement that transgender people should use whichever bathroom "they feel is appropriate".