US pharmacy giant Walgreens has updated its bathroom policy to be trans-friendly after a woman was denied access because an employee thought she was transgender.
Jessie Meehan helped implement a companywide policy which allows customers to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender policy.
She was in the store during the LGBTQ Pride festival and had purchased some items in the store.
However, she was told she looked to masculine to use it and a store manager told her that it was store policy to restrict bathroom access based on appearance.
Meehan, who is not transgender, was later told by a different manager that this was not true.
She did not fight to use the female bathroom and instead used the stall in the male bathroom.
“This was very humiliating,” she explained. “I felt extremely uncomfortable.”
Her complaint was not followed up to Walgreens, and so she reached out to ACLU and staff attorney Amanda Goad sent a letter to the company explaining that California law “protects every person’s right to access restrooms based on their gender identity in workplaces, schools and business establishments.”
Meehan did not seek out a financial settlement, as she was happy that the company changed its policy across all 8,100 stores.
She added that she was shocked that she had received the treatment because she see’s Walgreens as an ally.
“(It’s) A company that really supports progressive issues which I really respect a lot. I’ve supported that business and one of the reasons why is because I knew it was an LGBT company. If this happened there, god knows where else it happens,” she said.
The musician added that she had faced similar discrimination about her appearance for her whole life, but she finally decided to take a stand after the incident in Walgreens.
“I’ve been discriminated against my whole life based on my appearance based on looking too male.
“It’s the first time I actually said something about it or did something about it.
“I can imagine there are 100s of people who didn’t do anything about it,” she said.
The new Walgreens policy states: “All individuals have a right to use restroom facilities that correspond to the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth.”